Three news faces will make the trip to the UK as part of the Kangaroos side.
Australia’s Kangaroos included three new caps among a powerful squad Monday for this month’s rugby league World Cup in England and Wales.
Sydney Roosters premiership-winning back-rower Boyd Cordner, Cronulla Sharks Andrew Fifita — the Dally M Prop of the Year — and Canberra Raiders back-rower Josh Papalii were named for the first time in a 24-man squad, to be led by Melbourne Storm hooker Cameron Smith.
But only three players who featured in Sunday’s National Rugby League grand final will go to the World Cup — Cordner, his Roosters team-mate Michael Jennings and Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans.
Centre Jennings scored the spectacular clinching try in the Roosters’ 26-18 win over Manly in Sydney on Sunday, while scrum-half Cherry-Evans was named the man-of-the-match, winning the Clive Churchill Medal despite playing on the losing side.
Coach Tim Sheens said the Roosters’ “league of nations” make-up was the main reason for only two members of the NRL premiership winners gaining selection in his squad.
“You look at how many New Zealanders are in their (Roosters) squad and other guys that will be playing across the World Cup, most of the Roosters squad will feature in some jersey in the World Cup,” Sheens told reporters.
“With Jennings that was an obvious one for us and Cordner had been on our radar most of the year, last night just confirmed his ability.”
Sheens said Cherry-Evans would provide top-quality back-up to first-choice halves, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.
“That will be an interesting contest for us during the World Cup as well because all three are in great form,” Sheens said.
Manly Sea Eagles trio Anthony Watmough (knee), Glenn Stewart (knee) and Brett Stewart (hamstring) were not considered, Sheens said, having been ruled out by the club’s medical officials after the grand final.
Of the Australian Test side which beat New Zealand earlier this year, only the injured Justin Hodges, Kurt Gidley and Watmough were not retained.
The squad also contains 13 Queenslanders from this year’s State of Origin series win over New South Wales.
Australia are bidding for their 10th World Cup title but New Zealand go into this month’s tournament as the defending champions after they defeated the Kangaroos 34-20 in the Brisbane final five years ago.
The Kangaroos, who leave for the United Kingdom on October 14, open the 2013 World Cup against hosts England in Cardiff on October 26 and are also in the same preliminary group as Fiji and Ireland.
The final will take place at Manchester’s Old Trafford stadium on November 30.
Backs – Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels), Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters), Brett Morris (St George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Morris (Canterbury Bulldogs), Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm), Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys).
Forwards – Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm/capt), Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks), Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks), Luke Lewis (Cronulla Sharks), Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans), Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders), Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos), Matthew Scott (North Queensland Cowboys), James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos).