Billy Slaters amazing form has been rewarded despite a major push by some media types for Manly Fullback Brett Stewart to retain his place as the Australian fullback.
Slater joins back rower Paul Gallen and prop Carl Webb who are also making their debut in a great looking Australian lineup that is probably a bit of test for a few players as to wether they can get the job done during the World Cup later this year.
Darren Lockyer was selected as captain and five-eight, which is fair enough. He played well on the weekend against South Sydney and he is one of the games all times greats.
The Official Australian Test Team is:
1. Billy Slater
2. Greg Inglis
3. Mark Gasnier
4. Justin Hodges
5. Israel Folau
6. Darren Lockyer (Captain)
7. Jonathan Thurston
8. Brent Kite
9. Cameron Smith
10. Petero Civoniceva
11. Ryan Hoffman
12. Paul Gallen
13. Greg Bird
14. Carl Webb
15. Willie Mason
16. Anthony Tupou
17. Kurt Gidley
Its hard to argue with anyone in the side baring Brent Kite (Who has been completely invisible this season!).
Slater had to be in the side, Inglis is in great form and is a gun on the win at rep level and Israel Folau is basically kept in the side because he’ll be playing for Australia for some time yet.
Gasnier probably just kept his place after a hard charge by a few players and Hodgson has also been in great form.
The halves pick themselves.
Up front Kite was lucky to make it, and Nathan Hindmarsh has been dropped which needed to happen. I think Brett White would have been there instead of Kite had he not been suspended for a few weeks earlier this season.
I was surprised they didn’t retain Dallas Johnston as his form at Lock has been amazing but Greg Bird has also been in good form and does give you a bit more ball playing ability rather than flat out work rate.
On the bench, Carl Webb finally gets his chance to taste test football and he needs t a big game to prove he belongs there. Mason and Tupou are no surprise and Kurt Gidley gives the team a lot of options as he can basically play anywhere in the backline, in the halves and even at hooker.
Overall its hard to argue with the side. The Kiwi’s had better be up for this Test match or they will get slaughtered yet again.
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Sep 22, 2021 0