With NRL sensation, Gareth Widdop out of the tournament through injury, Warrington scrum-half Richie Myler will join skipper Kevin Sinfield in the halves.
“Richie deserves his place in the squad,” McNamara said. “He has been one of the form halves in the Super League this campaign and can now prosper as the man in the driving seat,” McNamara said.
“It has been good to see Richie and Kevin working well together in practice and I want to see them take their qualities into battle against Wales. They will get us around the park and lay the platform we need to be creative in our offensive play.
“My aim has always been to have healthy competition in every position and that is starting to come to fruition. We have a great blend in this squad with some young, effervescent talent alongside some experience old heads.
“It is alien for us to begin a competition as favourites. We will judge ourselves by what we want to achieve not the opposition.”
Wales need to win the game to have any aspirations of reaching the final on 11 November, but McNamara’s men will be fully motivated and eye the fixture as chance to show their ability ahead of next year’s World Cup.
“This is the start of a long journey to the World Cup and our aim is to win this competition and continue the progression into next year,” added McNamara.
“Our job at the end of the next season is to get the players in the best physical and mental shape as we can to go and win the World Cup.
“We’ve practised that this year and definitely we will see some positive results from it albeit by maybe tweaking some things.
“It is now down to the players to perform and give themselves every chance of forcing their way into my plans.”
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