Eels' Shaun Lane welcomes Kangaroos hype

·2-min read

Parramatta back-rower Shaun Lane knows a good showing in Friday's NRL preliminary final against North Queensland could secure him a spot in Mal Meninga's Australia squad.

That's because his late-season form has led to everyone from his mates, journalists and his mother telling him he is in contention.

Lane's offloading and ability to break the game open loom as key if the Eels are to upset the Cowboys in Townsville.

The Eels were dealt a late blow on Thursday night, with centre Tom Opacic (hamstring) ruled out. He was replaced by Bailey Simonsson.

After outshining some of the NRL's best in recent weeks, lanky back-rower Lane is aware the hype around a possible maiden Test call-up will continue to grow if he keeps producing the goods.

"Everyone keeps coming up to me telling me (I'm in contention)," Lane told AAP.

"My mum's all over articles and I'm telling her to not read into anything but she's obviously getting excited for her son.

"It's a family group chat, she sends (articles to) all my siblings and their partners and my dad can read them or watch the press conference. I tell her: 'what are you doing?'

"I stay off social media and I'm going to be a happy guy regardless (if I get picked or not).

"I'm happy with how I've played and if you look at my form, objectively, it's been great.

"I feel like I'm up there with the best back-rowers in the comp."

Lane's late-season displays, where he has arguably outshone teammate Isaiah Papali'i, put him alongside the likes of Canberra's Hudson Young, Sydney Roosters forward Angus Crichton and Penrith's Liam Martin in Meninga's selection frame.

New Zealander Papali'i, who looms as a potential adversary at the World Cup, relished the thought of going up against his Eels teammate later this year.

"He (Lane) is killing it and has proven he can do it consistently," he told AAP.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he got the call up for that team. I'd be super-stoked for him.

"He's a pretty laidback person but when he gets out there on the field, he puts it all out there. It'd be the cherry on top after an awesome season.

"It'd be an interesting battle. You always like playing your mates and he's definitely a mate of mine. If it does come up, it'd be a fun game."