Zak Hardaker took another step towards redemption on Monday If he was named to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.
The former Leeds and Castleford full-back, that wasnt at either of those England or Great Britain operation squads announced earlier in the summer by coach Wayne Bennett, had been the surprise inclusion within his 24-man party.
As expected, Bennett has picked all 3 Australia-born players who qualify via the grandparent rule and also have shown their desire to play for their adopted country in the forthcoming Test matches against New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
Theyre full-back Lachlan Coote (St Helens) and also half-backs Blake Austin (Warrington) and Jackson Hastings (Salford), who had been all short-listed for its Man of Steel award obtained by Hastings following hugely-impressive first full seasons at Super League.
Coote has represented Scotland along with the return of Great Britain has paved the way for Ireland Joe Philbin to push his way into but there is no Welsh involvement after St Helens ahead Morgan Knowles was ruled out by injury.
Saints captain James Roby is just another accident absentee while his clubs Grand Final win over Salford came at a significant cost, with center Mark Percival (rib) and winger Tom Makinson (shoulder) sustaining accidents which cost them places in the squad.
Bennett stated:It was pretty tough really, with plenty of players in contention. A couple of guys got injured and thats taken a little bit of the pressure off and given a couple of guys chances.
I think we have got a very good squad which is greater than representative of the greatest players at the sport from England and Australia.
With a range of alternatives, the versatility of Hardaker helped him get the nod ahead of Sam Tomkins, whos one of the gamers on stand-by from the England squad in Sydney.
Paradoxically, Hardaker, who turns 28 was that the man picked by Wigan to substitute Tomkins as he set off to the path.
After he was crowned Man of Steel in 18, hardaker was the best player in Super League but his frailty had been exposed when he had been thrown out of Englands World Cup squad for a breach of discipline.
Eventually released by Leeds after testing positive for cocaine, he looked to have got his career back on track if he played a crucial role in Castlefords conduct to some maiden Grand Final in 2017 but had been suspended.
After having a ban, the Wigan given Hardaker a lifeline to be arrested for drink-driving during training.
Once he agreed to undergo rehabilitation that included a visit to the Sporting Chance 24, however, his new club stood by him and he was certainly and arguably their best most consistent participant in 2019.
As anticipated, former St Helens prop James Graham has been appointed by Bennett as captain in the absence of Sam Burgess and Sean OLoughlin.
Bennett stated:No-one plays more pride and passion since he does for his country, I can inform you.
Graham, 34, is the only member of the group with past experience of playing for Great Britain, having won five caps from 2006-7, and using a record 44 England appearances, is place to deliver up a half-century of caps against Tonga in Hamilton on October 26.
It is very emotional for me, said Graham, who will direct Great Britain for the very first time after previously captaining England. It is going to have history and heritage and it is something that resounds with the lovers and our sport.
Theyre four incredibly hard matches however, the problem rating was always going to be high. It is a struggle for us, but as a team I think were going to grow in that challenge.
Great Britain squad for the tour to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand
J Graham (St George Illawarra, capt), B Austin (Warrington), J Bateman (Canberra), T Burgess (South Sydney), D Clark (Warrington), J Connor (Hull FC), L Coote (St Helens), O Gildart (Wigan), Z Hardaker (Wigan), J Hastings (Salford), R (Sydney Roosters), C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), J Hughes (Warrington), J Jones (Salford), J Lomax (St Helens), J McGillvary (Huddersfield), J Philbin (Warrington), L Thompson (St Helens), J Trueman (Castleford), A Walmsley (St Helens), E Whitehead (Canberra), G Widdop (St George Illawarra), G Williams (Wigan).