Australia have named their squad for the forthcoming Four Nations tournament, and it is a group which includes plenty of potential test debutants.
The party contains 10 newcomers, and Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens admits that he has work to do ato get the team to gel in time.
“[I’m] more excited by it. Obviously as a coach, there’s certainly some concern. But I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, no. We hold the trophy and now we’ve got to defend it,” he said at Rugby League Central.
“If I am nervous, it’s about getting the combinations together quickly given we’ve formed a number of combinations, not just experienced players, over a six year period that we’ve been together.
“When you start talking about your edge defence and people who haven’t played with one another, that’s a bit of a problem. So we have to factor that in as well.
“So that’ll be the main focus for our first few training sessions, to get together on the same page defensively. That’s the only nervousness, not so much winning the game. There’s enough talent in that group to worry New Zealand and England and Samoa for sure.
“Look, I’m very, very confident in this group. I know the senior players will rise to the occasion and the younger players will add enthusiasm to the squad big time.
“If you looked at the Kiwi side that played us earlier this year, everyone [thought] they couldn’t possibly handle the Australian team but for 60 minutes we were in all sorts of trouble so it is amazing what young, fresh players can do for a side.
“I see it reinvigorating the squad. It is an opportunity for a lot of them to show what they can do across the tournament with plenty of senior guys returning to the squad next year but it is an opportunity for these guys to shine… which will strengthen the broader base of the Australian side over the next few years.”
Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans/West Maitland Red Dogs/ Maitland Pumpkin Pickers)
Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles/Mackay Brothers)
Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters/Old Bar Pirates)
Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm/Souths Acacia)
Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers/Enfield Federals/Leichhardt Wanderers)
Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters/Townsville Brothers)
Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels/East Campbelltown Eagles/Cabramatta)
Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne Storm/Campbelltown Collegians)
Ben Hunt Brisbane (Broncos/Blackwater Crushers)
Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs/Bowraville Tigers)
Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs/Gulgong Terriers/Mudgee Dragons)
Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters/St Marys/West City Tigers)
Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs/La Perouse Panthers)
David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs/All Saints)
Josh Mansour (Penrith Panthers/St Johns/Kingsgrove Colts)
Sione Mata’utia (Newcastle Knights/Raymond Terrace/South Newcastle)
Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders/Logan Brothers)
Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos/Logan Brothers)
Beau Scott (Newcastle Knights/Picton Magpies)
Cameron Smith (c) (Melbourne Storm/Logan Brothers)
Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos/Townsville Brothers)
Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters/Berala Bears/Guildford Owls)
Dylan Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs/Mascot Jets)
Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers/Leichhardt Juniors)