During the 1930s, Queensland was a weak cricketing state, having only been admitted to the Sheffield Shield in 1926–27, and the national selectors tended to choose Australia teams composed entirely of New South Welshmen, Victorians and South Australians. New South Wales' Bert Oldfield was the incumbent wicket-keeper and had no plans to retire, while Victoria's Ben Barnett had been the reserve keeper on the 1934 tour of England. South Australia's Charlie Walker was also talked of as a possible Test player.
Tallon was scrutinised as a Test candidate when England toured for the 1936–37 Ashes series. He was selected in Bradman's XI for a one-off match against Victor Richardson's XI at the start of the season. It was a testimonial for Richardson and such matches were used as Test trials for the top players in Australia. Tallon took three catches but was unable to capitalise with the bat. He made three and was unbeaten without scoring in the second innings as Bradman's men reached their target. In the next match against New South Wales, Tallon took four catches and scored 100 to bring his team back into contention after conceding a 190-run lead. However, New South Wales scraped home to win by one wicket. It continued a winless streak for Tallon in Queensland colours that had lasted for over two and a half years. Tallon had a final chance to push for selection in two matches for an Australian XI and Queensland respectively, against Gubby Allen's Englishmen before the Tests. He made a total of seven dismissals but scored only 49 runs in three innings.
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