Gary Connolly is out of the Great Britain side for the third Ashes Test against Australia at Huddersfield on Saturday. The veteran centre, who scored his first try in his 31st Test at Hull last weekend, has been ruled out with a knee injury.
At 32, that could mean that Connolly's long international career is over, but his misfortune has opened the door for St Helens' Martin Gleeson, who was called into the squad earlier this week, and, with Keith Senior also out, now virtually certain to play at the McAlpine Stadium.
Gleeson established himself in the Great Britain side last year, only to be discarded this season. "I'll just be trying to prove a point and have a big game," he said. "It was frustrating not to be in the squad for the series, but playing in the England A side gave me a chance to get back in."
Connolly has still to announce any decision on his Test career, but another senior British player, Mike Forshaw, has decided to call it a day at the age of 33 and concentrate on one last season at his new club, Warrington.
"I've spoken to David Waite [the Great Britain coach] and told him that's it," said Forshaw, who remains adamant that the third Test side should be picked on merit and not with one eye on the future. It took me until the age of 27 to get a Great Britain cap and I had to work very, very hard for it," he said. "Handing out shirts like lottery tickets would be disrespectful to the people in possession."
Australia have recalled one of their senior citizens for the final Test. The 34-year-old Darren Smith, who won the last of his six caps in 1999, has been drafted on to the bench, with Mick Crocker moving up to start at stand-off. Smith, who played for St Helens last season, was called into the squad as cover for injuries during the short Kangaroo tour.Reuse content