Australia’s selectors broke with tradition by naming St Helens centre Jamie Lyon in their Tri-Nations squad.
The 24-year-old reigning Super League Man of Steel was in the 23-strong squad unveiled today, along with eight uncapped players.
Lyon, who toured with the Kangaroos as a teenager in 2001, has been in outstanding form during his two seasons with St Helens but was not expected to earn a recall to the Test scene until he returned to Australia with Manly Sea Eagles in 2007.
However, St Helens coach Daniel Anderson, a former New Zealand national coach, helped persuade the selectors to go for his man in a telephone call to new Australia coach Ricky Stuart last week.
Lyon is only the second Australian player since 1988 to be selected from outside the NRL, the other being another St Helens man, former Canterbury and Brisbane centre or loose forward Darren Smith who was an emergency call-up by Chris Anderson in 2003.
The new faces are Jarryd Hayne, Justin Hodges, Ben Hornby, Greg Inglis, Brent Kite, Cameron Smith, Sam Thaiday and Anthony Tupou.
The most eye-catching selection is that of winger Hayne, who only broke into Parramatta’s first grade side in round 10 this year.
Shaun Berrigan, man of the match in Brisbane’s NRL Grand Final triumph, is one of eight Broncos in the squad including captain Darren Lockyer.
Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith will have to pass a fitness after picking up an injury in the Grand Final.
Not considered due to injury were Luke Bailey, Eric Grothe, Craig Fitzgibbon, Craig Gower, Timana Tahu, Matt Cooper and Steve Simpson, while Danny Buderus is unavailable and Andrew Johns and Ben Kennedy have retired from international football.
Australia open their campaign against holders New Zealand in Auckland on October 14.
Backs: Mark Gasnier (St George Illawarra), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Ben Hornby (St George Illawarra), Karmichael Hunt (Brisbane), Greg Inglis (Melbourne), Matt King (Melbourne), Darren Lockyer (Brisbane, capt), Jamie Lyon (St Helens), Brent Tate (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland).
Forwards: Shaun Berrigan (Brisbane), Tonie Carroll (Brisbane), Petero Civoniceva (Brisbane), Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta), Brent Kite (Manly), Willie Mason (Canterbury), Luke O’Donnell (North Queensland), Mark O’Meley (Canterbury), Andrew Ryan (Canterbury), Cameron Smith (Melbourne), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Anthony Tupou (Sydney Roosters).