JOE Philbin is the perfect example of the pathway that exists between the England Knights and the elite international stage.

While Philbin is in Australia with the Great Britain squad preparing for their tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, his former Knights cohorts – including Warrington Wolves teammates Toby King and Tom Lineham – will take on Jamaica at Headingley this afternoon.

Having started the season as part of the Knights Performance Squad after taking part in their tour to Papua New Guinea last year, Philbin's superb form caught the eye of Great Britain head coach Wayne Bennett.

Now, he is preparing to take on some of the world's best forwards in two Tests against New Zealand and one each against a Tongan Invitational XIII and Papua New Guinea.

The Warringtonian says the progress of players such as himself and Jack Hughes shows the rewards are there for players in the Knights squad led by Wolves' academy head coach Paul Anderson.

"Jack Hughes was the captain of that Knights team and he's over here with us," he said.

"(Leeds Rhinos winger) Ash Handley was in the England Nines squad as well.

"It's good for us younger players to look up and see that there is a pathway there if we take the opportunity with both hands.

"I was over the moon when I got the call on Sunday. I was rushing around like a madman trying to get everything together for six weeks away from home, but I'm delighted and really excited.

"I didn't stop training in the hope I would get the call. I'm glad I did do that extra training to get my body ready for this."

The Lions' four-Test tour promises to contain some bruising contests against fearsome packs.

However, that is something Philbin is relishing.

"The physical side of the game is what I love the most. The chance to play against some of the world's best players has got me licking my lips," he said.

"There's some big packs so there will be some big hits and sore bodies, but I relish that.

"I remember watching the Great Britain-Australia game when Jamie Peacock and Willie Mason went at it.

"I think that's part of what made me fall in love with rugby league – I've got a smile on my face now thinking about it. If I get the chance to play, hopefully I will do the shirt justice."