Super League winner Jonny Lomax is set to start at full-back for Great Britain against New Zealand – three weeks after crowing a stellar season at St Helens with Grand Final glory.
Lomax, 29, has got the nod over club-mate Lachlan Coote for the number one jersey, having come off the bench in the 14-6 defeat to Tonga last weekend.
Along with team-mates Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson, the pair had to cut their celebrations short after success at Old Trafford to link up with the Great Britain squad days later.
He said: “It was pretty good but obviously we had to cut the celebrations short to come here! A lot of the boys have gone to Ireland and unfortunately I didn’t end up going, a bit disappointing really.
“I had to get the points in with leaving my mrs and the little one for five weeks, so had a few things to sort out before I went.
“I had to mute a few What’sApp groups and Snapchat, but it was a fantastic feeling to win at Old Trafford and a fantastic achievement for the boys.”
Lomax has been a regular for Wayne Bennett’s England after making his debut back in 2016.
His appearance for GB against Tonga was his tenth on the international stage.
He added: “It’s a huge brand and to be given the chance to represent them is a huge honour.
“The last time they toured was in 2006 and they were in Australia, and I was lucky enough to be on tour with the Saints academy, so watched the game when GB beat Australia and have that memory.”
Injury robbed Lomax of appearing on the international stage earlier in his career, as he suffered three ACL injuries prior to returning to full fitness in 2016.
He said: “The big one for myself is being injury free. I wasn’t able to consistently string games together and it affects your performance.
“Since returning in 2016, I’ve been relatively injury-free – touch wood – and the more you play, the more confident you are, and Wayne’s instilled confidence in me by picking me and I’m massively grateful for that.”