REALISTIC Jermaine McGillvary knows he might have been overlooked by Great Britain if Tommy Makinson had not suffered injury so is not now going to waste his opportunity.
The Huddersfield Giants star lines up on the wing for the Lions against a Tonga Invitational XIII in Hamilton on Saturday.
St Helens’ Makinson, who won the 2018 Golden Boot following his exploits with England last year, was expected to take one wideman slot but dislocated his shoulder in their Super League Grand Final win and was ruled out of the tour.
Sydney Roosters’ Ryan Hall is back on the other side, the prolific former Leeds Rhinos player having missed last year’s England series win over New Zealand due to a knee reconstruction.
McGillvary, 31, said: “Tommy is the best winger in Super League and one of the best wingers in the world.
“For sure, if he was in this squad he’d be the starting winger.
“I realise that. It’s unfortunate he’s not but now me and Hally get the chance and, hopefully, we can do the job justice as he was outstanding in the Test series last year and has been outstanding all through the season.”
McGillvary was England’s star in 2017 as he scored seven tries in four games to reach the World Cup final while Hall has a stunning record of 36 tries in 38 Tests.
However, neither has yet played for Great Britain, who return to action after a 12-year absence.
“I’m over the moon to get selected,” said McGillvary.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of. When I was a kid, watching (replays of) Henderson Gill play for Great Britain, I thought he was the best player and didn’t know there was an England team.
“It was only when I got older and started playing myself when I was 18 I realised that there was.
“For me, then, growing up, Great Britain was the pinnacle; it was something you watched on the BBC when we played the Aussies. I’m proud.”
Heartbroken Leeds Rhinos Women’s and England star Lois Forsell said she had to retire to “save her knee” following multiple complicated surgeries.
The two-time Challenge Cup winner, who has played 18 times for England and is one of the sport’s biggest stars, has been out for 13 months after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament.
Forsell said: “It was not the outcome I wanted and although my head knows it is the right decision, my heart did not want to make this call.”