THE return of Great Britain for a four-match tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with another test against Tonga, is long overdue.

The historic national brand for the 13-man code on these islands has not played together since the autumn of 2007 - and since then it has been broken into England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

As a brand, GB has always been greater than the sum of its parts in rugby league terms.

Twelve years on, some may argue what the point is - after all will it not simply be the England squad under a different banner?

That is wrong on two counts.

Players like Saints loose forward Morgan Knowles, who opted for Wales on heritage grounds given his mother is from the Rhondda Valley, will make a very strong case to be included.

His consistently top drawer displays - strong running, a workhorse in defence and some deft handling touches - often go under the radar.

But he would be the first player that would jump out.

Compatriot Regan Grace is unfortunate to be in a position where there is plenty of competition in front of him on the flanks - but it would be an aspiration.

Although never popular in St Helens, Wigan's Welsh prop Ben Flower has started the year well in a below-par Warriors side.

So there are players - discounting any of the antipodean contingent who have been enlisted by the other Celtic nations - who would deserve to be picked.

And we would not have to pick - in a token manner - players from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

After all the Great Britain brand of Rorkes Drift, of the Ashes, of Alan Prescott and Vinty Karalius, Alex Murphy and Frank Myler was always strong enough - it did not have weigh up all the nationalities of these islands when picking the team.

Dave Valentine - a Scot from Hawick - lifted the World Cup for Great Britain in 1954.

Hull and Hull KR's Welshman Clive Sullivan had the same honour in 1972.

Both were selected on merit - as it should be.

So I am sure the selectors won't go down that route.

And would it really matter if the GB team WAS the same as the English one?

That brand of Great Britain is about the best team gathered from these islands since 1910.

All that they need to do now - after this tour - is get the Ashes back up and running, but for that we need the Australians to play ball.

Maybe if GB really impress in their two Tests against the Kiwis and the ones against Papua New Guinea and Tonga it may make the Aussies sit up.