“After thorough consideration, this is currently our best squad available,” said Ljubomir Bukvic, the recently appointed Serbia coach.
“We’ve been working for almost a whole year in drafting our heritage players for this historic chance to get to the World Cup for the first time.
“Some were part of our tour to Australia earlier this year but we also have some debutantes coming in. They will bring more experience to our core players that come from domestic clubs.”
SRLF general secretary Slobodan Manak explained that some of the bigger names from the NRL were not available for the squad.
“We would like to thank all of our heritage players on their efforts to represent Serbia and their backing in our quest to be a part of the rugby league elite,” he said.
“Due to differing circumstances we couldn’t count on all of them in this qualifying series but everyone approached is keen to back us.
“Both Tom and Jake Trbojevic had a very hard NRL season as did Tom Opacic. Unfortunately, Nikola Cotric’s club commitments didn’t make him available but we are excited to welcome our newcomers.
“Jordan Grant will join his older brother Chad, who debuted for Serbia in our successful warm-up international in Spain.
“We are more than satisfied with our current selection and we know that our squad will represent Serbia with pride and passion.”
SERBIA 22-MAN SQUAD
David Andjelic (Blacktown St Patrick’s), Reece Grkinic (Cabramatta), Daniel Burke (Collegians), Jason Muranka (Dewsbury Rams), Dalibor Samardzic, Dalibor Vukanovic, Stefan Nedeljkovic, Stevan Stevanovic (Dorcl), Joshua Marjanovic (Kawana Dolphins), Dzavid Jasari, Vlado Kusic (Partizan), Pero Madzarevic, Zarko Kovacevic (Radnički Nova Pazova), Milos Calic, Milos Zogovic, Vladislav Dedic, Vojislav Dedic (Red Star Belgrade), Chad Grant (St Clair Comets), Vladica Nikolic (Villeneuve XIII Leopards), James Mirceski (Western Suburbs Magpies), Jordan Grant (Wests Tigers), Ilija Radan (unaffiliated)