It has been a long time since I have cared about international rugby league, or watched it with any real passion. Most of that stems from the fact that the majority of this is now played in October after the season has ended, and the cricket has begun. The other reason is that we see better games in club NRL in this day and age than anything that is played at this representative level. Also, when was the last time you saw an Australia team chosen that you actually believed was the best that could be picked?
Case in point this afternoon. The Australian team is chosen for the Test against New Zealand next Friday night. So how do we go? Well, Billy Slater hasn't played for five weeks, but he's straight in. It looks like every winger in Australia is injured or not considered, because Josh Dugan gets a run there, as does Alex Johnston. Wow. And let's thrown Will Chambers into the centres with Greg Inglis shall we?
Now. How is the form in the pack? Sam Thaiday? Wow. How about the bench? Luke Lewis? Nate Myles? James Tamou? Really? Where is the form that is apparently being shown by these guys? Tamou had a great game on Saturday against the Knights, but where has he been before that? How are Cherry-Evans and Jennings in as back ups? They have been average at BEST this season.
It's a joke. The selectors have picked players that are big and mobile and hoping they will stand up when they take the field on Friday night. In reality, the only way Australia can win is if the usual quartet of Smith, Cronk, Thurston and Slater do all the work.
1 Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
2 Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
3 Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
4 Will Chambers (Melbourne Storm)
5 Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
6 Jonathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
7 Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)
8 Matthew Scott (North Queensland Cowboys)
9 Cameron Smith (c, Melbourne Storm)
10 Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)
11 Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans)
12 Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)
13 Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)
14 Luke Lewis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
15 Trent Merrin (St George Illawarra Dragons)
16 Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans)
17 James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys)
18th man: Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
19th man: Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters)
20th man: Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)