St Helens full back Lachlan Coote excited about making Great Britain debut

Lachlan Coote. Picture: SWPix
Lachlan Coote. Picture: SWPix

Lachlan Coote has spoken of his surprise and pride after being given the nod to make his Great Britain debut.


The Australia-born St Helens full-back, who has previously represented Scotland, will wear the number one shirt against a Tongan Invitational XIII in the opening match of the Lions tour in Hamilton on Saturday.

Coote, 29, who was short-listed for the Man of Steel award won by Jackson Hastings after an impressive first season in Super League with the champions, got the vote ahead ahead of his club-mate Jonny Lomax, Zak Hardaker and Gareth Widdop.

"I'm over the moon," he said. "I didn't really expect it. I was really excited to hear my name announced last night, I can't wait to get out there with the boys.

"The camp has been great, we've a great bunch of blokes, I felt welcome from day one."

Coote's selection comes just 10 days after he joined a select band of players to have won Grand Finals in both hemispheres following his 2015 triumph with North Queensland Cowboys.

"I'm going to be as proud as," he said. "This is probably the biggest achievement of my career. It's a great privilege to be a part of this team and wear such an iconic jersey.

"These tours don't come around too often.

"It's going to be a great test, the crowd's going to be there - you've seen in the past the atmosphere they create - and no doubt they're going to come out firing."

Coach Wayne Bennett's selection was delayed after the tourists were forced to flee Auckland following a major city-centre fire and set up camp 24 hours earlier than planned in Hamilton but Coote says it is business as usual.

"The only thing different was getting on the bus a bit earlier," Coote said. "Everything else remains the same, we're going to be training this morning.

"It's business as usual, I don't think it will affect us too much."

The players were given just 30 minutes to pack their bags and evacuate a smoke-filled city centre but assistant coach Ian Watson says the transition was made without ill-effect.

"Everything's been really well organised," Watson said. "The boys just cracked on with it. They know what they're here for and they're really focused on that."

Saturday's match will see Coote and his St Helens team-mates Lomax, Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson go up against the man who will soon become their next boss.

Tonga head coach Kristian Woolf has been appointed as the successor to Justin Holbrook but is delaying his arrival in order to oversee his country's clash with Great Britain and their Oceania Cup duels with Australia and New Zealand.

"It will be good to catch up with him but we've a job to do and hopefully we'll get it done on Saturday," Coote said.