NEW Hull FC signing Josh Jones admits he was surprised by his call up to Great Britain’s squad for their tour opener against the Tonga Invitational XIII.
READ MORE: Why Zak Hardaker looks set to be a surprise starter for Great Britain Lions.
The uncapped back-row has been named in Wayne Bennett’s 21-man squad and is expected to come off the bench in Saturday’s game in Hamilton.
Jones has enjoyed a stellar season with Salford Red Devils, earning a place in the Super League Dream Team and helping his club reach a first-ever Grand Final.
He will link up with Hull after the Lions tour and conceded: “I'm delighted.
“I wasn’t expecting it but now I’m in the squad I can’t wait to play and pull that shirt on.
“To play for Great Britain is something you probably dream of as a kid and now to do that is amazing.”
Given the competition for places, Jones knows he must sieze his chance with two Tests against New Zealand and a game against Papua New Guinea still to come.
“I’ve had a good year with Jackson (Hastings) at Salford and hopefully now I can replicate those performances with the Great Britain side,” he said, referring to his club-mate the newly-crowned Man of Steel who is also set to make his international debut at half-back.
“The first job is to win and that’s what I’ll do: perform well.
“I've seen their team and there’ some big boys out there. But we have a big team and a great pack ourselves so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Jones played almost 100 games for St Helens, winning the 2014 Grand Final, before a brief spell in rugby union with Exeter Chiefs.
Things did not work out for him there but he returned to league with Salford in 2016 and established himself as one of Super League’s toughest, most robust ball-carriers.
Asked if this Lions recognition made all the hard graft worthwhile, he replied: “Definitely. I’ve been working for this for a very long time.
“Probably the last four years at Salford have hopefully been building up to this.
“This year we’ve managed to achieve some great things but I’m glad to be able to kick on now and reach something that is unbelievable.
“I’m really proud of myself - and the other boys in the team.
Meanwhile, the Great Britain squad had to evacuate their Auckland base last night after a fire at the neighbouring SkyCity Convention Centre.
The centre of the city was covered by smoke from the fire and the team were moved to Hamilton a day earlier than planned ahead of Saturday’s first game.
The team had been on day off and were due to train on Wednesday in Auckland but will now train in Hamilton instead to ensure preparations can continue.
Jones said: “I still stink of smoke, to be fair!
“But everything is fine. We’re all here, all the boys know their job and we’re all professional so we’ll get training tomorrow and crack on for Saturday.”