Cunningham: Jonny Lomax should be England’s number one

Jonny Lomax deserve an England call-up, says Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham
Jonny Lomax deserve an England call-up, says Saints head coach Keiron Cunningham

New England coach Wayne Bennett will soon be naming his squad for the end-of-season Four Nations tournament and Saints' boss Keiron Cunningham is already championing the case of fans' favourite Jonny Lomax.

“Jonny is the best full back in Super League, hands down,” insisted Cunningham after Thursday's 40-16 drubbing of Castleford Tigers at Langtree Park.

No doubt Shaun Wane at Wigan will be saying the same about experienced international Sam Tomkins and Hull's Lee Radford will have similar views concerning his no. 1 Jamie Shaul, while current incumbent, Zak Hardaker, of Leeds is on loan until the end of the current campaign with Penrith Panthers in the NRL.

It will be fascinating to see who gets the nod from the Aussie supremo in all positions as he attempts to re-establish England as the top team in world rugby league.

But no one can ignore Lomax who has been a key element in St Helens' revival of fortunes from mid-June and is firmly knocking on the door of international football.

Cunningham said: “I'm not just saying Jonny is the best in the comp because he plays for the team I coach. If he played for another team, I would say the same thing.

“I enjoy viewing and watching good back threes and it is something we work exceptionally hard on.

“Full back play is so specified these days and so intense and is an extremely tough position to play in.

“Not only are you asked to make try-saving tackles, but organise your full line, set your back three and if you are asking for a complete full back Jonny ticks all the boxes.”

An international call up would be the icing on the cake for the 26-year-old who in recent years has had his fair share of the kind of injuries which could have brought his career to a premature halt.

Cunningham added: “Jonny has come through some dark days due to injury and there is no one prouder than me see the way he is performing this season.

“Like me and others who have come through the system at St Helens he bleeds the club and deserves everything he achieves.”

The Four Nations will feature hosts England, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland with the final at Anfield - the newly-extended home of Barclays Premier League giants Liverpool - on Sunday, November 20.