St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote has brushed off criticism of his selection for the Great Britain tour, and says he is proud to represent his Scottish heritage.
Coote, 29, made three appearances for Scotland in 2016, making his debut against his homeland Australia.
He qualifies for Scotland through his grandmother, who was born in Glasgow and emigrated to Australia at the age of 17, now living in Brisbane.
“It is what it is. Someone is always going to be critical, but I’m going to put my best foot forward.
“I’m super excited to be given this opportunity. It’s something special. Being on tour with Great Britain hasn’t been done for 12 years, so they’re rare and I’m excited to be a part of it.
“I’ve done my time in Scotland and I’m glad I put my hand up to be part of that, because it was great.
“My grandma was born in Scotland and I really wanted to go back and see what that was all about. I wore a kilt and everything, so it was special and obviously if I didn’t play there, I wouldn’t be standing here today.
“It was awesome stand there singing “oh flower of Scotland” and I was getting goosebumps standing there. It was sort of a weird feeling playing against Australia but I really wanted to do something good for Scotland and not just be another number.”
Though his first two games resulted in heavy defeats to Australia and Scotland, Coote was part of the Scotland side that registered a historic 18-18 draw against New Zealand at Workington’s Derwent Park.
He has played in Papua New Guinea before, part of a Prime Minister’s XIII that beat the Kumuls 24-18. That team included Darius Boyd, Michael Jennings, Wade Graham and Akuila Uate, with Coote playing stand-off alongside Scott Prince.
Fellow Australia-born players Jackson Hastings and Blake Austin have also been included in coach Wayne Bennett’s 24-man squad.
He added: “There’s a couple of us so it’s good to have something in common already, but it’s all about coming together as a team and try to win games.
“I’ll play wherever as long as I’ve got that jersey on. If Wayne wants to put me in the front row then I’ll charge one up, I won’t be very effective but still!
“We’ve got some great players and that’s what’s great about being on tour, you become a better player because you’re surrounding by such great players.”