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James Graham will become just the eighth player to make 50 Test appearances when he captains a Great Britain Lions team featuring Jackson Hastings and Lachlan Coote against Tonga Invitational in Hamilton on Saturday.

The Australian-born duo were named by Lions coach Wayne Bennett when the team was finally announced on Tuesday night after a fire at Auckland's Sky City forced the Great Britain squad to evacuate their hotel and relocate to Hamilton ahead of schedule.

Bennett also selected Canberra trio Josh Hodgson, John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead, Sydney Roosters winger Ryan Hall, South Sydney prop Thomas Burgess and the St George Illawarra pair of Gareth Widdop and Graham.

The 34-year-old Graham is the only member of the Great Britain squad to have previously played for the Lions, making five appearances in 2006-07, along with 44 Tests for England.

The Liverpool-born prop will become only the fourth British player to reach a half-century of Tests after Jim Sullivan, Mick Sullivan and Adrian Morley.

Great Britain captain James Graham at training.
Great Britain captain James Graham at training. ©Brett Phibbs/

They were joined last autumn by the former New Zealand captain Ruben Wiki, and the Australian trio of Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith and Petero Civoniceva – who also represented Fiji – as the seven players to be awarded Golden Caps by the Rugby League International Federation in recognition of their achievement in winning 50 international caps.

Now Graham is set to become the eighth recipient of a Golden Cap.

Coote, the former Penrith and North Queensland fullback, will wear the No.1 jersey for Great Britain, while Hastings will also debut alongside Widdop in the halves after turning his career around with Salford since leaving Manly midway through the 2018 season.

Great Britain team to play Tonga Invitational

1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Zak Hardaker, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Gareth Widdop, 7. Jackson Hastings, 8. Chris Hill, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Luke Thompson (Bold Miners, St Helens), 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. James Graham (c). Interchange: 14. Josh Jones, 15. Tom Burgess, 16. Jonny Lomax, 17. Alex Walmsley, 18. Jake Connor, 19. Jack Hughes, 20. George Williams, 21. Daryl Clark.

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St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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