The squad of 26 named on Monday included three uncapped players, NSW Waratahs backrower Dave Dennis and Queensland Reds backs Ben Tapuai and Ben Lucas.
Injuries meant eight World Cup squad members were not considered for the tour which comprises matches against the Barbarians at Twickenham on November 26 and Wales in Cardiff on December 3.
That contingent included forwards Sekope Kepu, Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman and Wycliff Palu and backs Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell, Pat McCabe and Quade Cooper, while halfback Luke Burgess is unavailable after joining a French club.
With Cooper and McCabe among the absentees, Deans hinted O’Connor, who has played primarily on the wing for Australia in recent times, could be moved to five-eighth or inside centre.
“When you are looking at the players that we are taking, it’s very likely he (O’Connor) will get the opportunity to step up and accept some of the greater responsibility that comes directing the game,” Deans said.
He wasn’t concerned the Wallabies could struggle for motivation so soon after the World Cup, in the aftermath of their semi-final loss to New Zealand and ultimate third placing there.
“It’s a great opportunity for this group,” Deans said.
“We’ve already been through the emotional ride of disappointment of not being able to beat New Zealand (in the World Cup semi-final) and having to get up four nights later (against Wales in the bronze medal match).
“But the boys did that well and showed the pride that they have representing their country and this is another opportunity which is important to them.”
Of the newcomers, Dennis went on the 2009 Spring Tour but didn’t play a Test and he was also a member of the initial 40-man squad for this year’s domestic campaign.
“He was probably unlucky in the first instance not to make that World Cup squad, but he gets his opportunity now,” Deans said.
“Then we’ve got the two Bens. Ben Tapuai, who earned the right off the back of his Super Rugby experience and played very well on the Gold Coast for the Australian Barbarians against Canada.
“Ben Lucas is obviously a very versatile player. There’s an opening at No.9, which is where most of Benny’s background is and with Luke Burgess going to play his rugby offshore, his versatility will be handy.”