Rugby League - McNamara expecting 'intense' season

England coach Steve McNamara is predicting the "biggest season in living memory" as Super League XVIII sets the scene for the 2013 World Cup.

PA Sport
Rugby League - McNamara expecting 'intense' season
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Steve McNamara believes this year's Super League will be 'intense'

The 14-nation World Cup starts just two weeks after the Grand Final takes place at Old Trafford on Saturday, October 5, by which time McNamara says every player will have had the opportunity to stake their claim for selection.

Speaking at the official launch of the 2013 Super League season at Manchester's Etihad Stadium, McNamara said: "The next 10 months are going to be fantastic as we embark on what I believe is the biggest Super League season in living memory."

He added: "Every English player who has ambitions of playing in the Rugby League World Cup now has the chance to prove himself in what will be the most intense Super League competition we have seen.

"It is a new campaign where every game will matter. Established players that have been part of the England group since it was created three years ago will want to continue to set the standards and the young talent coming through can also push to be in the squad that will bid to make history this autumn.

"It's an open selection policy: we are committed to selecting the best players and I hope to see every player produce his best throughout every round of Super League and all the way to the 2013 Grand Final."

Wigan and England full-back Sam Tomkins admits the World Cup will provide extra motivation for players on the fringes of selection.

"It's an incentive for players to play well," he said. "For those on the edge of the international game, it's time for them to step up.

"There is no better time than a World Cup in your own country. It's a massive incentive. If you miss this one, you've got to wait four years for another one in another country."

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