Rugby League: Goodway's surprise call for Long

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The Independent Online
Flexible thinking is a vital part of Great Britain's preparation for next month's series against Australia. Dave Hadfield saw Andy Goodway unveil a squad with one or two surprises.

Two scrum-halves - one prodigy and one rapidly returned prodigal - are in line to face the might of Australia.

Great Britain's squad for the three Test series that starts at Wembley on 1 November includes Sean Long, drafted in at the last minute, and Martin Crompton, who withdrew over the weekend, but has now been brought back into the fold.

Long, the 21-year-old who has filled in with distinction for Bobbie Goulding since joining St Helens from Widnes in mid-season, was not in the original preparatory squad. But his sparkling form towards the end of the season has seen him called up. "It has been a bit of a shock, but I'm just delighted to be involved, in whatever role Andy Goodway has in mind for me," Long said.

Goodway is relieved to have Crompton back after pulling out because of contractual problems at Oldham. Crompton, who is expected to join Salford today, was persuaded to make himself available again once his impasse at Oldham resolved itself and, with Long and Goulding, gives Britain options in this vital position.

Another of Oldham's players, the Welsh international full-back Paul Atcheson, has also made the 22-man squad, along with other players uncapped by Great Britain at full Test level in James Lowes, Dean Sampson, Mike Forshaw and Simon Haughton.

Sampson, who missed the latter stages of Castleford's season with an ankle injury, is one of only two specialist props in the party. Howard is under contract to Western Suburbs in Sydney but not to the Australian Rugby League, and that has raised hopes that he will be able to play for his country.

GREAT BRITAIN SQUAD (for First British Gas Test v Australia, Wembley, 1 November): Atcheson (Oldham), Broadbent (Sheffield), Cassidy (Wigan), Crompton (Oldham), Cunningham (St Helens), Farrell (Wigan, capt), Forshaw (Bradford), Goulding (St Helens), Harris (Leeds), Haughton (Wigan), Hunte, Joynt, Long (all St Helens), Lowes, McNamara (both Bradford), Morley (Leeds), Newlove (St Helens), Radlinski (Wigan), Sampson (Castleford), Sculthorpe (Warrington), Sullivan (St Helens), Spruce (Bradford).

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