Paulo opts for Samoa, Turbo little chance, Ponga hopes

It’s the start of a new era for the Kangaroos as almost three years will have passed between games by the time they play their first World Cup match.

Not only will there be several new faces because several 2019 players have retired or are no longer on the representative radar, but there are current stars unavailable through injury and declaring their eligibility for other nations. .

Three backs – Melbourne’s Ryan Papenhuyzen (fractured patella), Newcastle Kalyn Ponga (concussion) and Manly star Tom Trbojevic (shoulder surgery) – are the biggest names that have been sidelined by injury.

Papenhuyzen has no chance of playing again until 2023, Ponga hopes to be cleared for the World Cup although he is unlikely to play for Newcastle again this season as Trbojevic told the Fox League Podcast during the week that he had no hope of lining up for the Sea Eagles and seems unlikely to be right if the Kangaroos want to select him.

“I don’t think I will play football again this year, that’s just the reality,” he said.

NSW winger Brian To’oPenrith teammate Jarome Luai and brown accessories Josh Papalii chose to represent Samoa while Storm attacking Felise Kaufusi and the winger of the Roosters Daniel Tupou switched allegiance to Tonga and the foursome would have all been in the mix for Australia.

Paolo junior told Channel Nine on Friday that he would also play for Samoa, further weakening the Australian coach Mal Meningamedian forward rotation of .

Valentine Holmes can follow their lead with Cowboys center saying he spoke to coach Tony Iro about representing the Cook Islands but will wait until the end of the NRL season before making a final decision.

roosters lock Victor Radleywho would have been an outside chance to survive selection for the Kangaroos, said he wanted to represent his father’s native England.

The World Cup kicks off on October 15 with the men’s and women’s finals at Old Trafford in Manchester on November 19.

In the first of a series looking at the certainties, the possible and the probable of each team’s selection, here’s how the Australian squad stacks up.

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)


There aren’t many Australian players who you could say will definitely wear green and gold, barring injury, in October.

James Tedesco is a shoo-in to be fullback and will likely assume the captaincy after the retirement of Boyd Cordner before Daly Cherry Evans.

Nathan Clair and Cameron Munster will join DCE as three main halves with Ben Hunt certain to also be on the team to cover the hooker as well.

Rear rowers Cameron Murray, Kurt Capewell and isaah yeo would need to be injured or have a dramatic drop in form to miss it all Payne Haas is the only prop that is an auto-select.

James Tedesco scores a try for the Australian Kangaroos

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


Tino Fa’asuamaleaui earlier this year he said his preference was to represent Australia ahead of Samoa at the World Cup and given his strong form for Queensland in the home arena it is more than likely that he gets the nod as one of the midfield forwards.

Patrick Carrigan as medalist Wally Lewis should be in Australia’s 24 based on his performance on the pitch, especially for Queensland, but the Broncos forward’s four-game ban for a season-ending hip tackle could hurt his chances.

Holmes and fellow Maroons center Dane Gagai are proven performers of the big game, just like the Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchellwho missed Origin due to injury, so it would be a surprise if these three don’t make the final team. Valentine Holmeswho has scored 17 tries in 13 appearances for Australia and has a mother from the Cook Islands and a father from New Zealand, wants to delay a decision until the end of the NRL season.

Damian Cook

Damien Cook of Australia (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


That leaves 11 spots open for a pair of prostitutes, a few outside backs and a backup striker group.

Harry Grant, Api Koroisau and Damian Cook are battling for both half-model roles – Cook is the incumbent but Koroisau and Grant have had better Origin campaigns.

With all three likely to make the final, late-season form will be the deciding factor. Koroisau has previously represented Fiji, but raised his hand for the Kangaroos, if chosen.

If Mitchell and Gagai are the starting centers, Holmes will be on a wing with Josh Addo Carr likely to get the other spot with Tupou and To’o representing their Pacific heritage.

The emergency center berth should come down to a battle between Stephen Crichton, Matt Burton, Jack Wighton and Campbell Graham – this is another area where Meninga doesn’t have many in-form eligible players pressing for selection.

Crichton could still follow the example of his Panthers teammates To’o and Jarome Luai by opting for Samoa, while that of Brisbane Kotoni Staggs and Cronulla Sioisifa Talakaiwho both played Origin this year for NSW, will represent Tonga at the World Cup.

Brown wingers Selwyn Cobbo, Corey Oates and Xavier Coates are in frame with the Cowboys speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and the wonder of the Roosters Joseph Suali.

Coates was born in Port Moresby and recently represented the Kumuls, but might find a call from Kangaroo too hard to turn down. If not picked, Suaalii would surely be in contention for a Samoa shirt although his stocks are growing for the Australian side.

Harry Grant of the Maroons looks on during Game 1 of the 2021 State of Origin Series.

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Mitchell also provides a back-up for Tedesco, but Meninga is likely to select another specialist full-back – Kalyn PongaEels’ future is clouded due to repeated concussions this season and if Trbojevic is still ruled out, the door could be open for the Eels skipper. Clint Guthersonfrom Penrith Dylan Edwards or the rising star of the Warriors Reece Walsh to obtain their first national convocation.

Ponga is almost certain not to feature in Newcastle’s last four games but will hope to be cleared to return to action in October, if selected by the Kangaroos.

In the peloton, the ability to switch between forward and center forward roles will help the likes of Angus Crichton and Liam Martin.

Jake Trbojevic is considered a good chance to get a place as an intermediate option and another place has opened up with Paolo junior making himself available for Samoa.

Lindsay Collins, Jai Arrow, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Jordan McLean and Daniel and Jacob Saifiti could be other options upfront – although RCG and the Saifitis are eligible in Fiji and have yet to make a public decision.

Young North Queensland Pistol Jeremiah Nanai is also considering whether to commit to Samoa but he has a decent chance of securing a second rowing berth with the Kangaroos while his Cowboys teammate Ruben Cotter could also come into the calculations after overcoming his hamstring injury.

The Kangaroos planned team

1 James Tedesco
2Josh Addo-Carr
3 Dane Gagai
4 Latrell Mitchell
5 Valentine Holmes
6 Cameron Munster
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Cameron Murray
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Isaac Yeo
14 Harry Grant
15Patrick Carrigan
16 Angus Crichton
17 Jake Trbojevic
18 Daly Cherry-Evans
19 Lindsay Collins/Reagan Campbell-Gillard
20 Reuben Cotter/Jai Arrow
21 Damien Cook/Api Koroisau
22 Kalyn Ponga/Joseph Suaalii
23 Liam Martin/Jeremiah Nanai
24 Matt Burton/Jack Wighton

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