England expect prop James Graham to be fit for Samoa Test in Sydney
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/05/17 3:00pm
England are confident prop James Graham will be fit for Saturday's Test match against Samoa in Sydney.
The 31-year-old Canterbury Bulldogs captain was forced off with concussion just 14 minutes into his team's 16-10 win over Canberra on Saturday and was unable to return.
The former St Helens favourite joined up with his fellow NRL-based players and the advance party from Super League clubs over the weekend and, although he has not yet been cleared to play in the mid-season international, he is expected to begin training later in the week.
An England spokesman confirmed that Graham - England's most-capped current international - is still in camp and, in consultation with his club, will be following the standard head injury protocol over the next few days.
England coach Wayne Bennett will be relieved to have his experienced front-rower available, especially after already losing two players from his initial 20-strong squad, half-backs Gareth Widdop and George Williams, to injury.
England are also without South Sydney prop George Burgess, who is serving a four-match ban for a shoulder charge.
Replacements Stefan Ratchford and Kevin Brown, from Warrington, were included in England's 20-man squad when all six squads for the Pacific triple-header at the Campbelltown Sports Ground were submitted to organisers on Monday.
Brown, the latest player to be called up after Williams injured a knee in Saturday night's match at Castleford, arrived at the team camp in Coogee on Monday night, along with captain Sean O'Loughlin and the Tigers trio of Zak Hardaker, Mike McMeeken and Luke Gale.
The full squad will begin their preparations in earnest on Tuesday before Bennett begins to finalise his line-up for a match he believes will provide important preparation for the end-of-season World Cup.