McGuire closes in on Test place

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The Independent Online

Adrian Morley, the one Briton playing at top level in Australia, believes that Leeds' try-scoring phenomenon, Danny McGuire, could make it there as well, but McGuire still does not know whether he will face the Kangaroos on Saturday.

"I think he'd go very well,'' said Morley yesterday. "He's shown his calibre this season and he'd be a breath of fresh air in the RNL.''

McGuire admits that could be a long-term aim, but his more immediate one is to get into the side to play Australia at the City of Manchester Stadium.

The Rhinos' half-back has admitted that he would not have been ready had he been picked in the Ashes series last year.

"It could have been a bit early, but I feel now that the extra year has benefited me a lot,'' McGuire said.

The Great Britain assistant coach, Jon Sharp, revealed that McGuire has only improved his chances this week.

"We've been highly delighted with Danny's input into things,'' he said. "We've still some final decisions to make. Some players have been very impressive this week and he is one who has strengthened his case.''

The Great Britain winger Brian Carney is expecting a physical confrontation with Australia. "What you always get with Australia is a very highly-skilled team," he said.

"The biggest thing I found last year was they don't miss many tackles and, when they get you in a tackle, they finish you off properly.

"It's something we've to bring into our game. We have the attacking players, we just need to defend well."

More than 33,000 tickets have already been sold for the match, the first to be staged at Manchester City's new ground.

Ben Kennedy and Shaun Timmins, both of whom are under consideration for the Australian team to play Great Britain, dropped out of last night's combined Anzac side at Workington because of a virus that has affected the squad this week.

* The Super League newcomers Leigh Centurions have re-signed the former Widnes winger Chris Percival, 24, who scored 20 tries in 21 appearances for them this year. The club have also secured a new three-year kit sponsorship deal with Kukri.