Canada has named its squad for the upcoming one-off international against the USA Hawks in Tampa, Florida, on Saturday, November 5th.
This will be the first match for the Wolverines since 2019 when they toured Serbia.
Canadian head coach Aaron Zimmerle says it will be very much about the emerging Wolverines.
“Due to the long spell without international rugby league and disrupted domestic competitions, plus the retirement of senior players, it’s imperative that we unearth our next generation of stars who can lead us to the next Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers and beyond,” he tells Rugby League Planet.
“With the assistance of assistant coaches Matt Wyles (ex-Wolverine captain and Toronto Wolfpack coach) and Didier Banse (UBC RU attack coach), we have been able to scour British Columbia and Ontario for talent.
“We have even seen players from Alberta make the trip across provinces to be involved in the domestic leagues, which is a huge commitment and a sign of their passion for the game of rugby league.
“Rhys Jacks, currently playing Queensland Cup for Ipswich in the feeder competition for the NRL, will make the long international trek from Australia to once again captain the side.”
Zimmerle says next month’s international will be exciting for the squad as only seven of the 17 players are previously capped, which means two-thirds of the squad will be experiencing the passion and intensity of international rugby league for the first time.
Despite the squad containing so many inexperienced players at that level, he says he still has certain expectations.
“I am travelling out two weeks in advance to work with both the BC and Toronto based players in camps before coming together in Tampa and the main goal is to set some fundamental standards about our level of play in defence and offence,” Zimmerle continues.
“If we can lay a platform of front loading our defence and kick chase, high completions and field position, and good individual skill execution, then we will have laid a platform to build towards the qualifiers next year.”
In 2023 Canada, the US, Jamaica and Chile will face off in the Americas Championship, which will also double as a qualifying series for the two North American spots in the 2025 World Cup in France.
Blake Mahovic, Colton Carpenter, Luke Torroca, Jordan Henry, Josh Michalik, Greg Wise, Jacob Bourne, Charles Curran, Rhys Jacks (Capt), Kimi Vinituraga, Jason Chuck, Dave Astley, Scyler Dumas, Nick Hails, Christian Miller, Scott Christian, Lawrence Davies