Heritage players will be considered for Great Britain, admits Wayne Bennett

Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed heritage players will be considered for his squad’s tour of the southern hemisphere this autumn.

The Lions will face New Zealand twice, Tonga and Papua New Guinea Down Under later this year.

Great Britain will return after a 12-year absence, and Bennett admitted that players who have Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English heritage will be considered for the tour.

Bennett said: “I’m going to pick the best team I possibly can.

“If they are eligible they will tell me. I just want the best players on the tour.

“Some names have been thrown at me and there’s a few we need to find eligibility for.”

Bennett revealed he will consider picking Warrington’s Australian-born half-back Blake Austin, who is currently top of the Steve Prescott Man of Steel leaderboard.

Austin is of English descent through his grandmother.

Bennett added: “Blake seems to be enjoying his footy here.

“He hasn’t always lived up to his talent. Anyone who is eligible and wants to come, they will be part of the mix.”

Another Australian-born player of British heritage is St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote.

The 29-year-old has earned three caps for Scotland through his Glaswegian grandmother.

Bennett commented: “I’ve seen Lachlan play. He was a tremendous player in Australia.

“I was sorry to see him leave Australia because I’ve always rated what he brought to a team.

“I see great talent in Blake that he hasn’t lived up to at times but he seems to be settled now and playing some wonderful football.

“If they’re eligible and want to come into the mix then that’s a decision we’ll have to make.

“I’m going to pick the best team I possibly can from what I’m allowed to pick.”

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