The Australian squad for the Four Nations was named today and there are some very interesting selections.
I said earlier today on Twitter that I would be shocked if New Zealand didn’t win this years Four Nations tournament, and a look at the Australian squad confirms all of my thoughts.
The team is made up of a lot of players that will not have played a great deal of football this month.
It is a growing trend, once the Australian team was made up with a lot of players who had played in the Grand Final. These days with the salary cap and elite coaches getting more out of less talented players, we are seeing the Australian team drawn from across the entire league. It is great in many ways, but it is an issue in terms of match fitness.
The Official Australian Kangaroos Four Nations Squad
Darren Lockyer (C)
Jharal Yow Yeh
The first thing you notice is that the Australian back line looks great. A few players there will need to run into some match fitness but overall it is a good looking back line.
It is great to see Darren Lockyer has been clearned to play, and I find it a bit strange that Australia will take Lockyer, Thurston, Cronk and Cherry-Evans over to England. That seems like overkill to me. I can see why they would want to give Cherry-Evans some rep experience, but really, we don’t need more than the three halves touring.
The forward pack looks as think as any Australian forward pack I have ever seen.
Corey Parker and Keith Galloway and not test quality players at all. Galloway was abysmal at State Of Origin level and while Parker is good at club level, there is a massive difference between being a good club player and being a test player.
David Shillington’s selection is just shocking. He had a terrible year for Canberra. It really shows that Australia just is not producing good props any more. We will likely see Paul Gallen moving into the front row during the Four Nations, and he will get the job done, but this is an issue the powers that be need to look at and address.
So what would be my ideal lineup from this squad?
League Freaks Australian Line Up
1. Billy Slater
2. Jharal Yow Yeh
3. Greg Inglis
4. Chris Lawrence
5. Akuila Uate
6. Darren Lockyer
7. Jonathan Thurston
8. Matt Scott
9. Cameron Smith
10. Paul Gallen
11. Sam Thaiday
12. Anthony Watmough
13. Glenn Stewart
14. Cooper Cronk
15. Dave Taylor
16. David Shillington
17. Luke Lewis
One very interesting change we have seen over the last few years that really comes through right now? I think you could say New Zealands top 17 is as good at Australia. Lets face it, they could go win/loss/win/loss over a number of games. However, New Zealands second 17 I think would beat Australia’s second 17 more times than not!
It makes me wonder if its time for the ARL and NZRL to have B teams that can do short end of season tours of the Pacific Islands to give the likes of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, PNG and the Cook Islands regular test football against higher quality opponents, which is something they really need.
I’m really looking forward to the Four Nations. When the New Zealand squad is announced, I’ll give my thoughts on them too.
Australia host New Zealand in Newcastle in two weeks time.
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