England are confident that prop James Graham will be able to play in tomorrow’s Test match against Samoa in Sydney.
Graham, the Canterbury Bulldogs captain, had to come off with concussion just 14 minutes into his team’s 16-10 win over Canberra last weekend and was unable to return to the pitch.
While he wasn’t immediately cleared to play in the mid-season international, he was expected to train with the team over the week with the aim being to take part in Saturday’s match.
A spokesman for the England team confirmed that Graham, who is England’s most capped current international, was at the training camp and in consultation with his club. He will have been following the standard head injury protocol over the last few days.
Wayne Bennett, the England coach, is sure to be relieved to have the experienced front-rower available, especially as he has already lost two players to injury from his 20-man squad, halfbacks Gareth Widdop and George Williams.
England will also be without South Sydney prop George Burgess who is in the middle of a four-match ban for a shoulder charge.
The team had brought in replacements Stefan Ratchford and Kevin Brown, from Warrington, and they were included in the squad when all six teams for the Pacific triple-header at the Campbelltown Sports Ground were submitted to organisers on Monday.
Brown, who was the last player to be called up after Williams injured a knee in Saturday night’s match at Castleford, joined the team at the camp in Coofee on Monday together with captain Sean O’Loughlin and the Tigers trio of Zak Hardaker, Mike McMeeken and Luke Gale.
The match is expected to be important in the team’s preparation for the World Cup coming up in a few months times.