England should not be concerned over the increasing number of Super League players switching to the NRL, according to former Australia captain Darren Lockyer.
The ex-Brisbane, Queensland and Kangaroos skipper believes the experience gained by England players sampling the Australian competition can only benefit the national team.
"Players come back feeling a bit more confident about their footie and, if fewer Australians come to Super League, there are more pathways and opportunities for local talent, which can only be a good thing," he said.
Although Gareth Ellis has returned from a four-year stint at Wests Tigers, there could be up to a half a dozen England internationals plying their trade in the NRL in 2013.
Sam and Luke Burgess are at South Sydney, along with twin brothers George and Tom, while James Graham will start his second season with Canterbury Bulldogs and Jack Reed and Gareth Widdop are with Brisbane and Melbourne respectively.
Former England hooker Scott Moore last week signed a two-year deal with North Queensland and Wigan second rower Gareth Hock could be the latest Super League player to make the switch as he negotiates with Parramatta.
Lockyer is in the middle of a 10-day tour of the UK to promote the 2013 World Cup in his role as NRL ambassador and took in England's latest autumn international in Hull.
He was impressed by their 44-6 win over France which has put them in good heart for Sunday's final against the same opposition at the City of Salford Stadium.
"England would have loved to have executed better but they looked sharp in their attack and were strong in defence," he said.
"I thought it was a high-quality performance and, although they would be disappointed with their number of errors, there are a lot of big names to come back into the side."
- Sports & Recreation
- Super League
- Gareth Ellis