With the Rugby League World Cup only weeks away, the reigning Champions and favourites to retain their title Australia at home have released their squad of 24 players.
Head Coach Mal Meninga has selected a strong contingent from NRL champions Melbourne Storm who dominated the completion this year ahead of their 30-4 final win over North Queensland Cowboys in Sundays Grand Final.
Australian and Melbourne Captain Cameroon Smith will be joined by 2016 golden boot winner Cooper Cronk and former world player of the year, veteran Full Back Billy Slater who only returned from a serious career threating shoulder injury mid-season. they are joined by fellow Storm players Will Chambers, Felise Kaufusi, Jordan McLean and Cameron Munster, with the final trio all making their international debuts for the Green & Golds.
Others making their first appearance at this level are Dane Gagai, Tom Trbovevic and Wade Graham.
Sydney Rooster Skipper Boyd Cordner will be Cameroon Smith’s Vice Captain.
Of the noticeable absentees from the squad, NSW, Sydney Roosters and the official NRL players Player of the year James Tedesco miss out, despite impressing in the recent Prime Minister select game against PNG. He is joined on the touchline by team mate Jake Friend who missed out to Brisbane’s versatile Ben Hunt, while there is also no room for NSW pair of Jack Bird and Blake Ferguson!
Andrew Fifita and Darius Boyd were originally named in the squad but the pair withdrew almost immediately with Fifita announcing his allegiance to Tonga and Boyd failing to recover from an Hamstring injury ,they’ve been replaced by Panthers duo Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Josh Mansour.
The Australian will travel to Fiji and PNG to play exhibition matches ahead of their World Cup opener against England on Oct 27th in Melbourne.
Australia 2017 World Cup squad:
Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk, Josh Dugan, Tyson Frizell, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Wade Graham, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Felise Kaufusi, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, James Maloney, Jordan McLean, Michael Morgan, Cameron Munster, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, AaReagan Campbell-Gillard, Josh Mansour.