Lachlan Coote races away to score for St Helens

Former Cowboys and Panthers fullback Lachlan Coote is the second Australian-born player selected in Wayne Bennett’s Great Britain performance squad ahead of the Lions first tour since 2006.

Coote, who plays for St Helens, is one of two Scotland representatives along with clubmate Morgan Knowles in the 29-man squad, which also includes Warrington and Ireland forward Joe Philbin.

Super League’s leading tryscorer Ash Handley and Salford team-mate Josh Jones are the other additions to the squad named last month, which included former Canberra, Penrith and Wests Tigers playmaker Blake Austin, who plays for Warrington.

“As we’ve said since the return of the Great Britain team was announced at the start of the year, we have considered everyone who is eligible and puts themselves forward,” Bennett said.

“As well as this Performance Squad of players based in England and France, we’ve got another group of players based in the NRL to consider – and there’s still time for others who are eligible to impress and force their way in.”

Josh Hodgson in action for England at the 2017 World Cup.
Josh Hodgson in action for England at the 2017 World Cup. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

St George Illawarra’s Gareth Widdop and James Graham, South Sydney’s Sam, Tom and George Burgess, Canberra’s Josh Hodgson, John Bateman, Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton, Roosters winger Ryan Hall, Titans centre Kallum Watkins and Broncos rookie Herbie Farnworth are the English-born players in the NRL.

Rabbitohs winger Campbell Graham, who plays under Bennett in the Telstra Premiership, is also eligible for Great Britain selection through his Scottish parents and is considering making himself available for the tour.

The final 24-man Lions squad will be announced after the Super League Grand Final on October 12, with the first Test against Tonga in Hamilton on October 26.

The Lions will also play Tests against New Zealand at Eden Park on November 2 and in Christchurch on November 9, before their first Test against Papua New Guinea since 1996 in Port Moresby on November 16.

The performance squad was selected by a seven-man panel led by Bennett, who will be the Lions coach.

The other selectors were team manager and former Great Britain captain Jamie Peacock, assistant coaches Ian Watson and Danny Ward, and former Lions tourists Paul Anderson, Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens.