Ward looking to make up for lost time with England
Stevie Ward in action against Hull KR at Elland Road.
Leeds Rhinos star Stevie Ward says he is hoping to make up for lost time with the international side after being named in Wayne Bennett’s 21-man Elite Performance Squad for the season.
Ward missed out on a trip to the World Cup after surgery following the Rhinos Grand Final win last Autumn but he joins team mates Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins in the latest squad ahead of the mid-season international against New Zealand in Denver.
The 24-year-old commented, “It is great to be involved again. Obviously only having played two games so far this season on the back of the shoulder injury that kept me out of the World Cup, you do have a niggling doubt if you’ll get the call. It is great to be back involved and I have always loved being involved in the past and I just want to notch up that first game now.
“We have a great base at the Etihad campus that is accessible for all the boys and Denver is an exciting opportunity on the horizon for the test against New Zealand. We have got some massive Tests against them at the end of the year and I am relishing the opportunity to be involved in all those games,” added Ward.
The forward was a late call up to the national side in 2016, replacing team mate Brett Ferres, but did not feature in the Four Nations that year. Now an established Super League star, Ward says he needs to make the most of the chance he has. He added, “I feel like it is long overdue for me to put myself in a position to pull on an England shirt. I am not getting too carried away just because the squad has been announced but it has certainly given me something to focus on when it comes to the international side.
“I enjoyed working with Wayne Bennett at the end of 2016 and my involvement in the meetings and the preparation last year was something I got a lot of out of. Working with coaches of his calibre can only help improve you as a player and I am really excited about that chance.”