Castleford forward Liam Watts and St Helens centre Mark Percival have been left out of the Great Britain squad for the upcoming tour of the Southern Hemisphere while Wigan Warriors full-back Zak Hardaker has been added to the squad.
Despite being nominated for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award, 29-year-old Watts will have to wait to add to his one England appearance which came for the Knights in 2011. He is one of five players eligible to play for Great Britain who, despite being named in the Super League Dream Team, have missed out on selection with wingers Tommy Makinson and Ash Handley joining Watts’ fellow forwards Liam Farrell and Morgan Knowles as Wayne Bennett overlooked them for his squad.
Star Super League players Jackson Hastings and Blake Austin have also been included while three-time Scotland international Lachlan Coote will also represent his ancestry. Wayne Bennett has named seven players to have played in the NRL in 2019 including former Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall and the Warrington-bound Gareth Widdop.
St Helens’ winger Makinson has joined South Sydney Rabbitohs’ forward Sam Burgess in withdrawing from the squad with injury while it was previously announced that Wigan Warriors’ Sean O’Loughlin would sit out this tour.
In the absence of both O’Loughlin and Burgess, St George Illawarra Dragons forward James Graham has been named as captain. The 34-year-old is the only member of the squad to have previously played for Great Britain, winning five caps in 2006-07. With 44 England appearances – the most any player has ever made – along with those Lions appearances, the former St Helens forward is in line to complete a half century of test caps this autumn.
Squad in full
James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons, Blackbrook; captain)
Blake Austin (Warrington Wolves, Doonside Roos)
John Bateman (Canberra Raiders, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Tom Burgess (South Sydney, Dewsbury Moor)
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves, Fryston Warriors)
Jake Connor (Hull FC, Siddal)
Lachlan Coote (St Helens, Windsor Wolves)
Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors, Featherstone Lions)
Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils, Western Suburbs Red Devils)
Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters, Oulton Raiders)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders, East Hull)
Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves, Golborne Parkside)
Josh Jones (Salford Red Devils, Blackbrook)
Jonny Lomax (St Helens, Orrell St James)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)
Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves, Culcheth Eagles)
Luke Thompson (St Helens, Bold Miners)
Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers, West Bowling)
Alex Walmsley (St Helens, Dewsbury Celtic)
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, Kings Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)