Sep 11 2013
Shaun Lunt and Matty Smith will be on opposite sides in Thursday night's opening Super League play-off but they were united in the Dream Team this week and could be soon playing together for England.
Hooker Lunt has been a revelation in Huddersfield's most successful Super League campaign while Smith has been the form scrum-half in 2013 and won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in Wigan's Challenge Cup final triumph.
They lined up together for the Dream Team unveiling at Huddersfield's John Smith's Stadium on Monday and will be back there on Thursday to do battle for their clubs in the first qualifying play-off tie.
Both men have had a taste of international rugby league in the past but were omitted from England coach Steve McNamara's elite training squad (ETS) this year and know that time is running out if they are to make a push for World Cup selection.
McNamara has so far gone outside his ETS just once in selecting Huddersfield second rower Brett Ferres for the mid-summer Exiles game but has pledged to scrutinise players' performances in the play-offs before finalising his 24-man World Cup squad.
"I would love to be in that squad," said Lunt, who went on the 2010 Four Nations tour Down Under.
"I set off at the start of World Cup year thinking 'if I have a good season, I'll do my best to put myself in the frame'.
"Hopefully selection in the Dream Team has backed my case up. I'm just concentrating on playing well for Huddersfield and, if you play well for your club, you have every chance of being put forward for the national squad."
Smith played for England in the second Exiles game of 2012, at Huddersfield, while he was still a Salford player and has taken his game to a new level since his move to Wigan.
He looks to be behind Rangi Chase and Richie Myler in the England scrum-half pecking order but has not given up hope of receiving a late call-up from McNamara.
"It's a great honour to play for your country, probably the biggest honour you can have, and I definitely want to do that," Smith said.
"I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully it will be enough for Steve and it will get me that England call-up at the end of the year."
More immediately, for both Lunt and Smith their sole focus will be on helping their team secure a victory that will take them to within 80 minutes of the Grand Final.