Canterbury’s English enforcer James Graham has revealed he urged England coach Steve McNamara to pick in-form Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson for last year’s Rugby League World Cup.
Hodkinson has been in superb touch for the NRL ladder leaders and has only missed two goal kicks all season and booted winning late field goals in his side’s last two games against the Warriors and South Sydney.
Despite his brilliant start to the season, the former Manly and Parramatta playmaker appears to be a long way down the NSW pecking order with Mitchell Pearce, Adam Reynolds and Wests Tigers youngster Luke Brooks all ahead of him.
And Graham said he feels sympathy for his teammate about how much competition there is for a Blues jumper.
“I don’t envy Laurie Daley and his NSW selectors, there is so much talent out there for him to choose from,” Graham said.
“How do you choose from (Jarryd) Hayne or a (Josh) Dugan? A Hodkinson or a Pearce or Brooks at Wests?
“It’s unfortunate for Trent that there are so many good players knocking about.”
The 25-year-old did play for NSW City in 2010, but a succession of injuries have put him out of the representative picture.
Hodkinson’s father is from London and Graham, who has become close friends with his family since his arrival from St Helens in 2012, said he’d love see him him involved in the Four Nations tournament later this year.
“His dad’s English and I’ve seen him speak quite passionately about playing for us,” Graham said.
“I know it has been at the back of Trent’s mind and I’d love to see him lining up next to me in an England shirt.
“Maybe one day in the future it will happen.”
McNamara is currently employed as an assistant coach at the Sydney Roosters and will have had a good chance to assess Hodkinson’s form, but Graham revealed he considered picking him for last year’s World Cup campaign.
“Steve did ask me about him because he gets quite a few reminders that people do qualify for England,” he said.
“But I did say to him that this bloke is genuine and wants to play for England and is not just out to play in a World Cup.
“But for whatever reason Steve didn’t go that way. But if he can keep up this form and still has the desire it may happen.
“The only bad thing about him is that he supports West Ham.”