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).

Jamaica director of rugby and senior head coach Romeo Monteith and lead coach Jermaine Coleman have named their 21-man squad for Friday’s representative clash with England Knights at Castleford’s Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The match is also being played for Reggae Warrior and Tiger Jordan Turner’s testimonial.

Jamaican-born Rugby League player Abevia McDonald has signed a one year contract with English League One outfit London Skolars. He is now the second Jamaican domestic player to sign a professional contract following the footsteps of Nathan Campbell who signed for the Toronto Wolfpack in 2016.

A former student of Excelsior Community College in Kingston, McDonald had signed a first-team contract with the team in 2019 but saw no action as the League One or the Championship were cancelled because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

He began playing while at EXED in 2013 and developed into a quality player who helped the Red Sharks to the National Club title in 2018. It would be his last game in Jamaica as he migrated to England shortly thereafter. He eventually joined the Skolars Reserve team and scored against Super League outfit Wigan Warriors.

He would go on to score more than a dozen tries for the team which led to his first-team signing in 2019.

"His journey is yet another example of inspiration for the local rugby league community. We know that some domestic players have the ability to crack semi-pro teams in the UK if afforded the opportunity,” said Jamaica’s Head Coach Romeo Monteith.

“We have and have had some quality players come through our local systems. He impressed me from the first time I saw him play, he has blistering speed and it's good to see him stick with the game and push on to where he is today."

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