Well the mid season Test match is not far off now and its time to start thinking about who you would select in your Australian Test team.
Its sad to think that politics will come into play when picking the actual side. The Queenslanders will not be happy untill all 17 players are from Queensland (Actually that should read Queensland, Fiji, New Zealand and parts of New South Wales!) and form will only slightly come into calculations of selectors.
Tim Sheens gets his first game as Australian coach and he will no doubt do an amazing job. I think there is a very strong case for Sheens being the best Rugby League coach of all time.
In picking the Australian side there are a couple of things to consider.
First and foremost is that, Australia lost the World Cup Final. The last team selected, the incumbents, were not up to the task, and when you start losing World Cup Finals all bets are off as far as having a guaranteed place in the Test side.
Secondly, you have to look somewhat towards the future and at the end of season Four Nations competition that’s happening over in Europe at the end of the year. If you want to test players out, now is the time to do it.
So remembering all that, this would be my Test team:
League Freaks Australian Test Side
1. Billy Slater
2. Michael Jennings
3. Greg Inglis
4. Justin Hodges
5. Israel Folau
6. Darren Lockyer
7. Jonathan Thurston
8. Steve Price
9. Robbie Farah
10. Petero Civoniceva
11. Paul Gallen
12. Anthony Lafranchi
13. Terry Campese
14. Kurt Gidley
15. Ben Hannant
16. Luke Bailey
17. Anthony Tupou
The starting lineup is pretty much as expected but for a few new additions.
I think Michael Jennings has shown this year that he has made the step up to rep level. He was born in Blacktown in Sydney’s west so his eligibility isn’t in question. He’ll be picked for New South Wales at Origin level (If they know whats good for them!) and he is one of the form backs in the competition, so I’d give him his shot.
I’ve put Hodges and Folau on the same side of the field simply because right now that combination is unbelievable for Brisbane and I see no need to change it.
Lockyer was the first chosen in my side, and as captain, while Thurston just got the nod over Scott Prince based on his amazing performances in the past for Australia.
I’ve dropped Cameron Smith and brought in Robbie Farah. Smith just is not offering enough is attack right now, I haven’t been impressed with his attack for about a year now. Farah meanwhile is carving it up, his form has been amazing, so he deserves his spot.
Its hard to argue against the back row I’ve chosen.
I’ve gone with Campese at lock, I think he would have been a difference maker in the later stages of the World Cup in that position. He is big enough to play lock, his ball playing and hole running will be a fantastic addition and he fully deserves his place.
On the best I’ve gone with Mr Utility, Kurt Gidley. I selected him JUST ahead of Craig Wing who is back to his best form off the bench for South Sydney.
I went with Ben Hannant as his form has been great and he really rips in, Luke Baily who’s mobility will be much needed when Price and Civoniceva come off the field, and a bit of an unpopular choice in Anthony Tupou as I wanted another back rower with good mobility and Tupou has been in decent form for a poor Sharks side.
Its a difficult time to pick a Test team, but I think I’ve done alright. Experience, youth, a few debutantes, some players to fill out the squad, this is a team I think should give the new World Champions a real run for their money.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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