Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has snubbed a raft of stars for the Kangaroos squad to take on the 2023 Pacific Championships, including newly minted Dally M Medallist Kalyn Ponga.
Star fullbacks Dylan Edwards and Reece Walsh were also left out in favour of incumbent James Tedesco, also named captain.
The Australian Rugby League Commission has named four debutants, being Selwyn Cobbo, Thomas Flegler and Kotoni Staggs from Brisbane, as well as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow from the Dolphins.
Meninga was full of praise for the side, which will begin their campaign against Samoa in Townsville on October 14 before taking on New Zealand in Melbourne on October 28.
“The quality we saw in the regular season, the State of Origin series and the Finals Series means we have been able to put together an outstanding squad,” Meninga said.
“The squad has a healthy blend of representatives from last year’s World Cup, as well as others who have performed extremely well over the course of the season.”
Canterbury winger Josh Addo-Carr has been picked amid the fallout from an all-in brawl at the Koori Knockout, and is reportedly selected pending investigation.
“Hopefully, we’ll get statements from everyone today and the NRL will be in a position to advise the commission at a meeting tomorrow,” ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell, despite playing the Koori Knockout, was ruled out by Souths owing to a finger injury.
Meninga inferred that Mitchell would have been picked if available for selection.
“South Sydney Rabbitohs said that he’s out because of injury, so we went with that,” Meninga told the Herald.
“I was a bit surprised [he played on the weekend]. The club gave him permission to do that. He loves the Koori Knockout … he’s got through that tournament, went well, so looking forward to him having a good off-season and good season next year.”
Kangaroos squad for 2023 Pacific Championships
Josh Addo-Carr, Bulldogs
Patrick Carrigan, Broncos
Daly Cherry-Evans, Sea Eagles
Nathan Cleary, Panthers
Selwyn Cobbo, Broncos
Lindsay Collins, Roosters
Reuben Cotter, Cowboys
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Titans
Thomas Flegler, Broncos
Harry Grant, Storm
Payne Haas, Broncos
Valentine Holmes, Cowboys
Ben Hunt, Dragons
Liam Martin, Panthers
Cameron Munster, Storm
Cameron Murray, Rabbitohs
Kotoni Staggs, Broncos
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Dolphins
James Tedesco (captain), Roosters
Jake Trbojevic, Sea Eagles
Isaah Yeo, Panthers
More to come.