Bennett adds four to 21-man Lions squad to face PNG

4 weeks ago
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Great Britain Rugby League Lions head coach Wayne Bennett

Great Britain Rugby League Lions head coach Wayne Bennett has named a 21-man squad for Saturday’s final tour Test against Papua New Guinea Kumuls.

Bennett will give first run-outs on the four-game tour to Wigan’s Australia-bound George Williams and his fellow half-back, Castleford’s Jake Trueman.

Warrington forward Joe Philbin and Wigan full-back Zak Hardaker are also back in for the match in Port Moresby.

Both missed Saturday’s third straight tour defeat, by New Zealand.

After back to back defeats by the Kiwis, the Lions have a last chance to claim a tour win against the fired-up Kumuls, who pushed Fiji close in their Oceania Cup match last Saturday.

“They really play for the shirt so we need to be at our best this weekend, physically and mentally,” said assistant coach Ian Watson.

“The heat will test us because it’s not something we’re used to and they played really well against Fiji. They have got some really good players.

“It’s our last Test. We’re finished after this, and we don’t want any regrets. We just want to go out there and give our best.”

South Sydney Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess admits: “We know if we’re not on our game this weekend, we can get beat. They have got a lot of quality players.

“I know one of them very well, Alex Johnston, who plays with me at Souths and he’s top quality. We’re not taking it lightly at all. They are all strong.”

The Lions will train for the first time in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday before a final team run on Friday, after which the squad will then be reduced to 19.

It is the first time Great Britain have visited the rugby league-mad nation of Papua New Guinea since 1996 – and they suffered a 20-18 defeat there on their previous visit in 1990.

Great Britain Rugby League Lions squad: Graham (capt, St George Illawarra Dragons), Lomax (St Helens), McGillvary (Huddersfield), Hughes (Warrington), Connor (Hull), Austin (Warrington), Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons), Hastings (Salford), Hill (Warrington), Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Bateman (Canberra Raiders), Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), Jones (Salford), Thompson (St Helens), Clark (Warrington), Walmsley (St Helens), Philbin (Warrington), Williams (Wigan), Trueman (Castleford), Hardaker (Wigan).

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