Being the reigning holders brings pressure for the Australian in what looks to be the most competitive World Cup in a long time.
With a number of star players deciding to represent other nations such as Tonga or Samoa, the Kangaroos aren’t as strong as they anticipated to be but they still boast a strong 24 man squad.
We take a look at their options as we make our predicted line up for the Australians for their opening game against Fiji
- James Tedesco
The Sydney Roosters and Blues full back will be the first name of the team sheet for the Kangaroos as the Captain. The Daly m runner up will be looking to have a big World Cup as he cements his legacy as one of the best full backs the game of Rugby League.
- Josh Addo-Carr
A surprise exclusion from the New South Wales squad this season but he hasn’t rested on his laurels as he has enjoyed a fine first season as a Canterbury Bulldog. The Speedster scored 16 tries this season and will look to continue his partnership former with Bulldog teammate Matt Burton.
- Matt Burton
After his breakout season for the Penrith Panthers in 2021, Burton moved on to the Canterbury Bulldogs to play his favored position at stand off. He has been a star performer for the club and earned his first Origin call up to play centre, a position we believe he will fill for Mal Meniga’s side. Look out for his towering bombs which caused havoc in the Origin arena.
- Latrell Mitchell
One of the genuine superstars of our game who can do it all. His return for the South Sydney Rabbitohs sparked their season turn around in which they reached the semi-finals. Mitchell possess similar attributes to that of the great Greg Inglis and is just as comfortable at left centre as he is at fullback.
- Valentine Holmes
Completing the scarily good Kangaroos back line is North Queensland Cowboys Valentine Holmes, who has had his best season back in Rugby League since his return from a stint in the NFL. He was a key cog in the Cowboys team who shocked the NRL this season climbing from 15th to 3rd and was a instrumental for the Maroons with big plays at both ends of the fields as they clinched State of Origin 2-1. He has played the majority of the season in the centres for both club and state but is more than comfortable on the wing.
- Cameron Munster
Arguably the games best player, Munster has always shone on the biggest occasions and will be looking to form unstoppable partnership with his halves counterpart Nathan Cleary. He was the Melbourne Storms best player this season with his performances remaining at a high level even when they lost many key players due to injury. Always performs well in a Maroon jersey so look for him to do the same for the Kangaroos.
- Nathan Cleary
The orchestrator for the best Rugby club in the world right now, the Penrith Panthers. The young half back is already being compared to immortal Andrew Johns which tells you all you need to know about him, his kicking game is second to none and his partnership with likely loose forward Isaah Yeo will be key. If he and halves partner Munster can work together efficiently it is a scary prospect for the other nations.
- Reagan Campbell-Gillard
With many of the Kangaroos electing to represent other nations, an opportunity has opened up for the Parramatta forward to shine for Australia at this World Cup. Campbell-Gillard has been in and out of the Origin arena and was dropped from the most recent series after the first game but has consistently performed to a high standard for the Eels and will lay solid foundations in the middle for the green and gold.
- Ben Hunt
Even though he plays half back for St George, Hooker is arguably his better position and his tandem with Harry Grant in the position killed New South Wales in Origin. A live wire around the ruck with an exceptional kicking game, look for Hunt to try and open the game in the opening 30 minutes before making way for Grant.
- Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
At only 22 years of age, Fa’asuamaleaui is already a captain at club level for the Gold Coast Titans and has represented Queensland nine times already. With players such as Payne Haas and Junior Paulo missing for the Kangaroos, it will he up to Tino to play big minutes in the middle and bend the oppositions defensive line.
- Cameron Murray
Another young club captain in this Australian squad, Murray thrives anywhere in the back row and fills this role in the Origin arena. Known for his monster efforts defensively and always getting a quick play of the ball, his hookers will be looking to play off the back of Murrays powerful runs.
- Angus Crichton
One of the most consistent back rows in the NRL for a number of years now. A perennial New South Wales player who never takes a backward step. Always dangerous on the left as he is a forward who knows where the try line is. Look for him to form a big connection with stand off Munster as the tournament progresses.
- Isaah Yeo
The starting loose forward for the best Rugby League team in the world who already has a telepathic understanding with half back Cleary makes the decision to pick Yeo in the lock position a no brainer. An exceptional ball playing forward who also isn’t afraid to do the hard carries and never over plays his hand.
- Harry Grant
After immortal hooker Cameron Smith retired there appeared to be a big hole in the nine position for the Melbourne Storm, then along came Harry Grant. Probably the best dummy half in the world right now, he will provide a burst of electricity off the bench just as he does for Queensland. He turned the tide in his first Origin series and will be looking to have a similar impact on the world stage
- Reuben Cotter
Cotter is a Swiss army knife of a player who plays well over his size. Can play at loose forward or prop with no drop off in quality and has a monster energy which sees him regularly play 80 minutes in the most gruelling position. Was a star in his first Origin inclusion this season making 50 tackles.
- Patrick Carrigan
Another first time Origin player who was exceptional. Carrigan was awarded the Wally Lewis medal for the best player in the series, the first rookie to do so. A monster in the middle who plays huge minutes and gets through a large amount of work whilst in defence. His importance as a player is only highlighted by the Brisbane Broncos end of season collapse whilst Carrigan was suspended.
- Jeremiah Nanai
The Daly M rookie of the year has concluded his dream first season with an inclusion in the Kangaroos squad. Nanai is a back row with the skill set of a winger as he crossed for 17 tries this season, the only forward in the top 15 players. Nanai has developed into an unbelievable aerial threat so look out for Cleary to try and pinpoint his kicks in the back rows direction.