Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Kangaroo Discards Show Our Depth

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Kangaroo Discards Show Our Depth

Article excerpt

PUNDITS have often argued that such is the strength of rugby league in this country that the Kangaroos could field a second-string side and still beat the best of the rest.

Well, that long-held assertion is about to be put to the test.

In 30 years covering the game I can't recall an Australian side being cut and pasted like this Centenary World Cup squad.

By my estimation at least 15 front-line contenders have either been ruled out or weren't considered for selection for one reason or another.

And that makes for an interesting journey for Darren Lockyer and his boys over the next month.

With so many NRL players lining up for the Pacific Island teams - particularly Samoa and Tonga - the Centenary Wolrd Cup will be no walk in the park for anyone.

And PNG showed against the PMs 13 a few weeks ago that they mean business too.

But the Kangaroos should still win the event.

Even missing a busload of stars, I'm still tipping the Lockyer-led green and gold to beat the Poms in the Suncorp Stadium decider on November 22.

As an aside, here is an Australian team of unavailable talent that did not make it to the starting gates: Brett Stewart, Steve Bell, Justin Hodges, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Jamie Lyon, Matt Bowen, Brett White, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Mick Crocker, Ryan Hoffman and Greg Bird.

French lesson

ON the subject of the World Cup, the French team that spent last week on the Sunshine Coast said a lot about non-inflated sporting egos.

In a very minor advisory role, I spent some time with the French players and officials and could not have been more impressed by their behaviour, their respect, their willingness to comprehend a foreign language and their enthusiasm for a game that back home is - let's face it - a poor relation.

Many decades ago France was a major force in rugby league. …

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