Four newcomers included in Reggae Warriors' 24-man Rugby League World Cup squad

By Sports Desk September 28, 2022
Jamaica's Ben Jones-Bishop streaks away from  Scotland in the 2021 Autumn Test match. Jamaica's Ben Jones-Bishop streaks away from Scotland in the 2021 Autumn Test match. Matthew Merrick

Four newcomers - Bradley Ho, Kieran Rush, AJ Wallace, and Alex Young - are included in Jamaica’s 24-man squad, as the Reggae Warriors prepare to make their debut in the Rugby League World Cup.

Fourteen of those selected were part of the squad that qualified for the tournament when winning the 2018 Americas Championship, Jamaica thereby becoming the first-ever Caribbean nation to be included in the competition proper.

The squad is headlined by Betfred Super League stars Michael Lawrence and Ashton Golding from Huddersfield Giants.

Six players from the domestic game are included, five are from Duhaney Park Red Sharks that recently won the National Club Championship Grand Final for the eighth time in 16 seasons, along with former Excelsior Community College speedster Abevia McDonald, who now plays at London Skolars.

Also selected are brothers Aaron and Ben Jones-Bishop, the former becoming Cornwall RLFC’s first international representative.

“We are excited to mix it with the best players in the world and everyone is ready to give their all. We encourage everyone to get behind this team and join us on what should be a terrific as well as historic journey,” said head coach Romeo Monteith.

“We first made our international debut in 2009, and to have qualified for a World Cup less than 10 years later, speaks to our commitment and tenacity.

“We are in a very tough group, but our aim is to give a good account of ourselves. The World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and we hope this will be the first of many appearances.”

The Reggae Warriors are drawn in Group C and will face Ireland at Headingley, Leeds (October 16), 2008 World Cup winner New Zealand at the MKM Stadium, Hull (October 22) and Lebanon at Leigh Sports Village (October 30).

Two teams from each group will not only advance to the quarter-finals but will also book their ticket to the 2025 Rugby League World Cup to be staged in France.

The local contingent will depart the island on Saturday 1 October, and, in a warm-up match, the Jamaicans will face Cumbria on October 7 in Workington.

JAMAICA 24-MAN SQUAD

Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), AJ Wallace (Bradford Bulls), Aaron Jones-Bishop (Cornwall RLFC), Ross Peltier, Keenen Tomlinson (Dewsbury Rams), Chevaughn Bailey, Khamisi Mckain, Andrew Simpson, Marvin Thompson, Renaldo Wade (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax Panthers) Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence, Kieran Rush (Huddersfield Giants), Bradley Ho, Mo Agoro, (Keighley Cougars),  Abevia McDonald (London Skolars) Joel Farrell, Ben Jones-Bishop (Sheffield Eagles), Joe Brown, Alex Young (Workington Town), Jacob Ogden (York City Knights), Jordan Andrade, Jy-Mel Coleman (Unattached).

Related items

  • Striking the balance: Wall names 10 overseas-based players in final squad for U-20 Champs Striking the balance: Wall names 10 overseas-based players in final squad for U-20 Champs

    Having found a good blend of local and overseas-based players, young Reggae Boyz Head coach John Wall will now be hoping his team can execute efficiently throughout their Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship campaign.

    Wall and his 21-member team, which includes 10 overseas-based players, are scheduled to arrive in St Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday where they are expected to fine tune preparations for their Group F assignment against Martinique, Grenada and Bermuda.

    The Swedish tactician named his final squad following two warm-up fixtures against their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts, and one against their senior club outfit in the twin island republic. They first lost 2-3 to Trinidad and Tobago, but won the second contest 3-1, with a goalless stalemate against the club team.

    Despite those results, Wall in a recent interview, expressed pleasure with his team's display for the most part.

    “Three games, three different outcomes, but mainly it (the camp) was just to build a solid foundation in our style of play, how the environment is, what we value and what it takes to play in the national setting. So, it gave me a lot of answers as to where the players are at present, and what needs to be assessed as we move forward towards St Kitts, so hopefully the process can continue ahead of the tournament,” Wall said.

    With Jamaica failing to qualify for the Under-20 Men’s World Cup since Argentina 2001, the hope is that Wall’s side will better the country’s quarterfinals run from Honduras in 2022, to accomplish the qualifying feat.

    The young Reggae Boyz will open against Martinique on Saturday, followed by a clash with Grenada on February 26, before closing against Bermuda two days later.

    “For me it’s about controlling the controllable at this point in terms of what we can do,” Wall, who is assisted by former Reggae Boyz defender Rudolph Austin, declared.

    “My hope and aspiration (for the tournament) lie in the work that we put down and not the talent that we assess, so we have to do the work consistently because ultimately what I care about is making sure that Jamaica prevails,” he added.

    Only the group winners will progress to the next phase of the Concacaf Under-20 tournament to join the top teams –United States, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic –ranked in that order.

    Squad -Akeem Bernard (Phoenix Academy), Joshua Grant (Real Salt Lake), Taywane Lynch (Mount Pleasant FA), Romain Blake (Chicago Fire), Michael Forbes (Cavalier), Adrian Reid Jr (Cavalier), Ronaldo Barrett (Cavalier), Ahir Dixon (Woodstock Academy), George Grant Jr (Middlesbrough FC), Kyron Horsley McKay (Millwall FC), Alexander Bicknell (Leixoes SC), Malachi Welch (Leyton Orient), Christopher Ainsworth (Cavalier), Brian Burkett (Dunbeholden FC), Dunsting Cohen (Vere United FC), Denzel McKenzie (Phoenix Academy), Robino Gordon (Phoenix Academy), Fabian Reynolds (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Ashton Gordon (Atlanta United), Nick Simmonds (Richmond Kickers), Tyrese Gowe (Dunbeholden FC)

  • Penrith eager to join world club champions’ roll call ahead of Wigan showdown Penrith eager to join world club champions’ roll call ahead of Wigan showdown

    Penrith head coach Ivan Cleary is eager to see his all-conquering NRL giants belatedly join the roll call of world club champions with victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

    The Panthers fell short against Wigan and Bradford in 1991 and 2004 respectively before suffering an agonising golden point defeat to St Helens on home territory in February last year.

    Despite being one of the NRL’s greatest sides by common consensus after three-straight title wins, Cleary knows an asterisk will remain beside his side’s achievements until they have ascended to the global crown.

    “It’s the one thing we haven’t been able to do – only 12 teams have managed to win this thing and we’ve had three goes and missed out on it,” said Cleary.

    “You look through the list of winners and only the big clubs have done it, so for us to be on that list would be big.

    “I’ve watched these games for many years from growing up as a kid and it’s a big game – you don’t play for a world championship every day and I think both teams will show what it means on the night.”

    Both sides have been hit by injury setbacks ahead of the fixture with Cleary confirming Penrith will hand 20-year-old Jack Cole only his second senior start at stand-off in place of absent star Jarome Luai.

    Wigan meanwhile will draft youngster Harvie Hill into their front row after losing new signing Luke Thompson to concussion in Saturday’s Super League season-opener at Castleford, with another new boy Sam Walters already sidelined.

    But Wigan head coach Matt Peet admitted he breathed a huge sigh of relief when half-back Harry Smith escaped a ban following a yellow card for a tip-tackle in the same fixture, meaning he can line up at the sold-out DW Stadium.

    Peet admitted he had been concerned but was “chuffed” by the news and added: “I think both teams want to come up against the best of one another.

    “We want to see Harry on that stage, particularly because of the journey he’s been on, coming through that pathway.

    “Harvie is another home-grown lad which is brilliant and it is an exciting opportunity for him.”

  • Powell concludes the F4 UAE championship with a podium finish despite mechanical issues Powell concludes the F4 UAE championship with a podium finish despite mechanical issues

    Jamaican Alex Powell entered Round 5 of the F4 UAE Championship with a mathematical chance to win the title, but mechanical problems would hamper his weekend and ultimately scuttle his chances in the championship.

    Powell started his quest on a strong note, securing P3 in both qualifying sessions on Saturday morning. However, during Race 1, his clutch started to slip, taking away any opportunity to challenge for the win and valuable points. With skillful management of the slipping clutch, he secured a 3rd place podium finish, although it wasn’t enough to keep him in contention for the overall championship.

    In the reverse grid for Race 2, Powell started in P10, making his way through the field to 8th before half the distance of the race. An over-exuberant competitor forced Alex wide off track into a very sandy area; recovering from the excursion dropped Alex to 11th place, where he finished out of the points.

    While any chance of a Top-3 finish in the championship was now gone, Alex could still finish in the Top-5 with a good result in Race 3. Unfortunately, disaster struck before the very start of the race. While waiting for the red lights to extinguish, signaling the start of the race, the clutch problems resurfaced, this time resulting in his car creeping forward before the actual start, then stalling completely. Powell was out of the race before it began and eventually finished 6th in the Driver’s championship.

    Still, Powell's accumulated points proved to be crucial for the Team Championship, won by his Mumbai Falcons team. He also finished 2nd in the Rookie championship.

    "Not the weekend we hoped for. Some mechanical circumstances were completely out of my control. A special thanks to Prema and the Mumbai Falcons team for all their hard work over the course of the championship! Let’s keep pushing, and I’m already looking forward to the F4 Italian Championship," Powell said after the event.

    The 16-year-old Jamaican sensation will next compete in the F4 Italian Championship, beginning in May.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.