During this unprecedented time, you’ll find a lot of players discussing how they’ll be staying fit throughout the coronavirus lay-off. We’ll I’ve decided to do something a little different.
With the sport coming a standstill, I’ve picked my favourite XIII, made up of teammates either past or present, with an extended bench to keep certain people happy.
These are the players I would be ringing if I had to organise a game tomorrow. They’re not only talented but they’re great lads too.
Full-back: Jamie Shaul
I’ve been playing with him for about five years now and he’s a good mate of mine. He loves a coffee and we’re both ex-Skirlaugh lads as well.
Wing: Jermaine McGillvary
I’ve been mates with him for a lot of years now, I first met him with England Knights. He’s a right good laugh and he’s a funny guy, he’s also arguably the tightest man in rugby league.
Centre: Kirk Yeaman
I’ve known him for years and he’s good mates with cousin so he’s been a family friend for a while.
Before I’d played with him I had been invited to his house for gatherings, so I had got to know him and Danny Houghton before I joined Hull.
Going back years to when I used to watch him, it was just great to get the chance to play with him and win the Cup with him in 2016.
Centre: John Bateman
He’s played in centre for Engand and I’ve got good mates in the back row so I’ve had to fit him in somewhere.
I met him when I first got to Wigan, two Yorkshire lads, we clicked. I always remember when I’d sold my house in Wigan and I was at Salford and I moved in with him for a couple of months before I moved back to Hull and we had a right good laugh.
I speak to him quite often while he’s killing it in Australia.
Wing: Ben Jones-Bishop
I first met him from the Salford days, I got on with him well. He loves NFL and over the last few years we’ve been in an NFL fantasy group and we all take it seriously. We watched Super Bowl together for the last couple of years, he’s drove through to Hull. I speak to him nearly every day on the Whatsapp group.
Stand-off: George Williams
He was a young kid coming through at Wigan when I was there and I got on with him really well. He comes across and dumb and as though he isn’t all there but he’s smarter than you think. He’s as daft as a brush. He’s the one I speak to a lot.
Scrum-half: Luke Gale
I’ve known Galey a long time, we first started at England Knights and I’ve been on a lot of England camps with him since. He’s similar to me, we both absolutely love horse racing, I love horses so we have a connection through that.
Prop: Scott Wheeldon
When I was a young lad coming through at KR, he’d more or less just signed for KR as well and he took me under his wing. We’ve been good mates ever since. Now it’s more anything I put on Twitter or Instagram, he’ll message and take the mick out of me. He plays for Sheffield so we’ll play against him if the Cup game goes ahead.
Hooker: Danny Houghton
He’s one of my best mates, we have really similar interests but he just cares about money, I care about money but not as much as him!
He’s my go to guy to chat to. We played together with England Knights and now I’m his vice-captain, so we get on like a house on fire. When I’ve got a day off he’s always one of the first blokes I’ll message to see if he wants to do anything.
Prop: Lee Mossop
Mossop is one of those blokes that have a close-knit group of mates and at first people can get the wrong impression but once you get to know them they trust you and ever since then we get on well.
He’s an honest talking bloke and I respect him for that.
Second-row: Danny Washbrook
I couldn’t leave Washy out. The Kingswood crew originals when I came to the club with me, Yeamo, Washy and Houghton. I’ve known him for a long time, he even handed trophies out when I played for Skirlaugh at presentations. He’s a bloke I trust with my life.
Second-row: Gareth Ellis
He’s a top guy and an utter professional. I got on really well with him until he retired but since he’s come back I’ve got even closer to him probably because he’s a bit more relaxed and chilled.
A legend of a bloke and he loves a good coffee, like me. Normally me, Gaz and Mint will go for a coffee together after training. He likes his golf as well.
Loose-forward: Sam Burgess
Burgess lived up to everything I wanted him to be. Obviously I’ve bumped into him here and there but I think it was the Four Nations into 2016 when I got the chance to be around him and he was just everything I wanted him to be.
Sometimes people like that can be arrogant and big-headed but he’s anything but that. He’s right up my street.
He was similar to Sam, but I met him through England and we clicked like a house on fire straight away.
I’m good mates with him from England Knights. We speak to each other a lot, he’s a top bloke.
He keeps his friends really close but once you get in there you can trust him with anything.
He was the one who put his arm around me at Hull KR as was there for a chat. We got on really well and a couple of years ago I flew out to Spain for his wedding.
He was one of my best mates at Wigan, we used to do a lot of things outside rugby and he’s one I speak to a lot.
He ended up coming to Hull but I was really good mates with him at Wigan and still speak to him now.
Another one who massively took me under his wing at KR. I got on with him really well.
When I went to Salford I was going through a tough time in my life and I just wanted to come back home but I had to do that year and Forester had signed for Salford himself. He made life easier for me before I moved home.