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Friday, September 14, 2018

Renouf: Three centres can give Kangaroos strikepower

Australia can strike fear into the hearts of their opponents in the October Test matches by selecting a trifecta of strike centres Greg Inglis, James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell in the 17.
To provide maximum potency in attack they all need to be there and that is why I would pick Latrell in the No.14 jersey where I believe he can be a game breaker.  
That might seem like a radical move on the face of it, but not when you consider what he has to offer.
t is a good dilemma for coach Mal Meninga with these three outstanding weapons available. GI is going  be the left centre and I would name him captain just ahead of Boyd Cordner. Then it is out of Roberts and Mitchell for that right side. A lot of people would think Latrell should be there but I would go with Jimmy because he is a right-side specialist and because of his speed. He complements GI and, on form, he edges out Will Chambers.
I like Latrell as a bench utility in a representative side, in the same kind of role that Queensland used Kalyn Ponga in Origin II. He can play anywhere in that backline and if need be they could put him in the middle because he is big, mean and strong enough.
Latrell is one of the most feared figures in the game now so he has to be in the squad somewhere.
James Tedesco has won the right to be fullback. He's had a great year for the Roosters and NSW and is in electrifying form. That means Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai can hold down the wing positions where they have been such prolific try scorers at representative level. If Tedesco gets injured then Val can go straight to the back.
In the halves I am going with Cameron Munster and James Maloney at halfback. Maloney is the steady head and Munster is the freak. He can do what he likes. That is what everyone loves about Munster.
Sometimes those kind of free spirits can be a pain in the backside for a coach but Munster gets it right more often than not. He's a favourite of mine because in the era we played that off-the-cuff style is how halves played and I reckon Mal really enjoys that too.
You know with Munster that no occasion daunts him. Maloney is the ultimate professional and has no self-doubt. He can control a game and come up with the big play when it counts so they are a perfect combination.
There's plenty of flair in that back line and I'm going for uncompromising forwards who have been there and done that. Reagan Campbell-Gillard and David Klemmer did the job in the World Cup final last year and have earned the right to stay there. I'm elevating Campbell-Gillard to the starting side.
Damien Cook is the X-factor at hooker and is going to provide real spark out of dummy-half. There will never be another Cameron Smith but Cook doesn't need to be the next Cam. He can just play that same style he has for Souths and NSW.
He's an energiser bunny but there is a lot more subtlety to his play than he's given credit. He is going to make any tired Kiwi or Tongan forwards pay if they relax for a split second.
The back row picks itself with Cordner, Josh McGuire and Tyson Frizell all incumbents. Frizell gets a start with Matt Gillett injured and he is the kind of powerhouse you need against the likes of the Kiwis and Tonga in particular. And he is skilled too. I am sure Mal will stick with the tried and true of Cordner and McGuire.
Joining Mitchell on the bench I would go with Jake Trbojevic, Josh Papalii and Jordan McLean.
Papalii had a strong Origin series and turned his season around after Ricky Stuart dropped him at Canberra. That fired him up and he had some massive games towards the end of the year for the Raiders which proved to me that his mindset and his form are in the right place for him to get a Test recall.
Trbojevic is a must for me. He's an old throwback in one respect with his tackling style and he is a modern forward as well with his athleticism, power and ball skills. He plays with real passion no matter what jersey he is wearing.
McLean missed a lot of the season with injury at the Cowboys but he finished on fire. It was no coincidence North Queensland had a late-season surge when he returned. You need that giant of a man off the bench to counter what Tonga in particular will throw at Australia. He has footwork and is a gangly prop who is so hard to handle.
The pack is powerful and skilled, and will need to be to counter the likes of David Fifita, Jason Taumalolo and Tevita Pangai jnr for Tonga if they are all available. That is going to be some clash.
Steve Renouf's Australia Test team1. James Tedesco
2. Valentine Holmes
3. Greg Inglis (c)
4. James Roberts
5. Dane Gagai
6. Cameron Munster
7. James Maloney
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
9. Damien Cook
10. David Klemmer
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Boyd Cordner
13. Josh McGuire
14. Latrell Mitchell
15. Jake Trbojevic
16. Josh Papalii
17. Jordan McLean.