Lachlan Coote has become the next player to be called up with Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett.
Coote, who played for Scotland at the 2016 Four Nations Series and has ancestry, unites Warrington stand-off Blake Austin in a 29-strong performance squad to prepare for the end-of-season excursion to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.
Coote’s Saints team-mate Morgan Knowles, who played for Wales is one of five new faces but winger Regan Grace, his team-mate for club and country, is not one of them.
Instead Bennett has called up the in Super League in 2019, Leeds Rhinos winger Ash Handley.
“As we’ve said since the yield of the Great Britain team was announced at the start of the year, we have considered everyone who’s eligible and places themselves forward,” Bennett said.
“As well as this performance squad of players located in England and France, we’ve got another group of players located at the NRL to consider – and there is still time to many others who are qualified to impress and push their way ”
The newcomers are Salford Red Devils rower Josh Jones, also Warrington Wolves forward Joe Philbin, who played for Ireland at the World Cup. St Helens forwards Matty Lees could have been a new face that was sixth but for harm.
Also ruled out through injury are Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone and Castleford half-back Luke Gale while Warrington second rower Ben Currie was made out to let him have a after his injury issues.
The squad will meet for the first time in Leeds to begin the preparations for the first Lions tour because 2006. Coaching will start in early October during the Super League series.
The group is expected to be captained by England and Wigan skipper Sean O’Loughlin, who’s set to return before the end of their season from a injury.
St Helens hooker James Roby and he would be the only players in the Super League-based squad to have represented Great Britain in the past.
The group was selected by a panel which contained assistant coaches Ian Watson and Danny Ward, group supervisor Jamie Peacock and three former Lions tourists in Paul Anderson, Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens.
The final 24-man group will be announced within 48 hours of the Grand Final. The Lions’ first match will be against Tonga at Hamilton on Saturday.
Great Britan elite performance squad: Jake Trueman, Liam Watts (both Castleford), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Jake Connor, Jamie Shaul, Scott Taylor (all Hull FC), Ash Handley, Stevie Ward (both Leeds), Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, J Roby, Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley, Morgan Knowles, Lachlan Coote (all St Helens), Jack Jones (Salford), Reece Lyne (Wakefield), Blake Austin, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford (all Warrington), Oliver Gildart, Sean O’Loughlin, George Williams (all Wigan)
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