Great Britain won't draft in replacement for ex-Leeds Rhinos star Ryan Hall

Wayne Bennett. Picture by Jeremy Ward / / Bennett. Picture by Jeremy Ward / /
Wayne Bennett. Picture by Jeremy Ward / /
Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett has decided against calling up a specialist replacement for injured former Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall

Hall - one of only two wingers in the squad, alongside Huddersfield Giants’ Jermaine McGillvary - suffered a dislocated kneecap during last Saturday’s Test defeat by New Zealand.

He and the squad’s only specialist centre, Wigan Warriors’ Oliver Gildart - who dislocated a shoulder the week before against Tonga - have both been ruled out of this Saturday’s second clash with the Kiwis and the one-off Test in Papua New Guinea a week later.

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Wigan’s ex-Leeds and Castleford Tigers back Zak Hardaker is set to switch to the left-wing this weekend, with Jack Hughes, of Warrington Wolves, taking his place in the centres.

Zak Hardaker. Picture by Brett Phibbs / / Hardaker. Picture by Brett Phibbs / /
Zak Hardaker. Picture by Brett Phibbs / /

Gildart remained in camp as part of the squad following his injury, but - with the tour party relocating to Christchurch ahead of Saturday’s game - will fly home to continue his recovery at Wigan.

Hall is now receiving treatment at his club Sydney Roosters.

The injury is a major setback for the Oulton Raiders product whose Leeds career was brought to an end by an anterior cruciate ligament injury and missed the Roosters’ Grand Final win this year after losing his place in the side due to another knee problem.

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Bennett admitted the injuries are “disappointing”, but insisted: “We have every faith in the ability of the players within our squad to get the job done.”

Ryan Hall. Picture by Jeremy Ward / / Hall. Picture by Jeremy Ward / /
Ryan Hall. Picture by Jeremy Ward / /

Prop Luke Thompson, who was man of the match for St Helens in last month’s Betfred Super League Grand Final, has returned to training after suffering a rib injury against Tonga and has been included in an initial 21-man squad for Saturday.

There is no place for Castleford Tigers stand-off Jake Trueman.

The Great Britain initial squad is: Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves), Jake Connor (Hull FC), Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors), Gareth Widdop (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils), Chris Hill (Warrington), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Tom Burgess (Dewsbury Moor), John Bateman (Canberra), Elliot Whitehead (Canberra), James Graham (St George), Josh Jones (Hull), Joe Philbin (Warrington), Daryl Clark (Warrington), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Blake Austin (Warrington), George Williams (Wigan), Luke Thompson (St Helens), Lachlan Coote (St Helens).