Latest News

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Tom Trbojevic named at centre for new look Kangaroos

Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic has won the Australian centre berth made vacant by the suspension of Greg Inglis in a new look Kangaroos team to play New Zealand in Saturday night's trans-Tasman Test at Mount Smart Stadium.
With Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk having stood down from representative football after last year's World Cup triumph, Billy Slater joining Johnathan Thurston in retirement and Cameron Munster having withdrawn for personal reasons, Australia will field an all-new spine against the Kiwis.
Fullback James Tedesco is the only player in the four key positions who was involved in the World Cup, having played for Italy, although halfback Daly Cherry-Evans has previously played for the Kangaroos.
However, five-eighth Luke Keary is yet to play State of Origin, while hooker Damien Cook only made his NSW debut this season.
The loss of Inglis, who was banned from the Tests against New Zealand and Tonga after being charged with drink driving, has compounded the lack of experience in the Australian team.
Inglis had been named captain but surrendered his spot in the squad to South Sydney team-mate Dane Gagai, while Boyd Cordner takes over as Kangaroos skipper.
In a surprise selection, Australian coach Mal Meninga named Gagai on the wing and Trbojevic in the centres.
St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hunt has edged out Tyrone Peachey for the bench utility role, while his former Penrith team-mate Reagan Campbell-Gillard also missed a place in the 17-man squad to play New Zealand.
Other selections of note include Melbourne second-rower Felise Kaufusi being preferred over St George Illawarra's Tyson Frizell in the starting line-up and the selection of North Queensland prop Jordan McLean.
Frizell and Kaufusi backed the new look Kangaroos to perform well when they fronted media after arriving in Auckland on Tuesday night.
"I guess it is a bit of a new era and I am pretty excited to see what the boys can do. I think they have shown throughout this year with their performance what they are capable of," Kaufusi said.
Few of the Kangaroos players have played a Test in New Zealand and Frizell said he was looking forward to the experience.
"It is a bit of a young squad this time around with those guys leaving but every time we come into camp Mal has the same kind of message about what he expects from all players so I don’t think too much will change," he said.
Frizell praised the form of Kaufusi for Melbourne and said he been selected for his aggression in defence as well as his ability with the ball.
"He is a great player, he has been a part of the Melbourne Storm system for a while now and been very successful," Frizell said. "He has played in Origin and also now for Australia. He is a competitor and definitely a bloke that I have enjoyed playing with and against.
"He doesn't say too much but he is a very fierce competitor and has got good whack in him too. I have seen it first hand too. That's the reason why he is here. He can run the ball really well and is a very strong defender." 
Australia: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Dane Gagai, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Tom Trbojevic, 5. Valentine Holmes, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Boyd Cordner (C), 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Jake Trbojevic, 16. Tyson Frizell, 17 Aaron Woods. Reserves: 18. Tyrone Peachey, 19. Reagan Campbell-Gillard