The Kangaroos have once again been able to assemble an exceptional squad of players tasked with regaining the Rugby League World Cup in October-November.
The team named today is studded with most of the games biggest names with all 24 players being involved in this years State of Origin series.
It includes five players who were in the Ricky Stuart-coached side when the Kiwis won the World Cup for the first time when beating the Kangaroos 34-20 at Suncorp Stadium in the last tournament five years ago. The survivors from that famous night for New Zealand sport are fullback Billy Slater, centre Greg Inglis, halfback Johnathan Thurston, hooker Cameron Smith and loose forward Paul Gallen. Two others named today Brent Tate and Darius Boyd were also in Australias 2008 squad.
Of the Australian side which beat the Kiwis in this years Anzac Test in Canberra are Kurt Gidley, Anthony Watmough and Justin Hodges have been ruled out. Hodges and Gidley are recovering from surgery while Watmough has battled through the latter part of the season with a leg injury.
Last nights grand final teams provide limited input with so many players involved being eligible for the Kiwis and other World Cup nations. Ultimately only Manlys Daly Cherry-Evans and Roosters centre Michael Jennings and second rower Boyd Cordner have made the side.
The full team is: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm), Paul Gallen (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks) vice-captain, Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans), Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Cooper Cronk(Melbourne Storm), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels), Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters), Luke Lewis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Brett Morris (St George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Morris (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans), Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders), Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos), Matthew Scott (North Queensland Cowboys), Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm), James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys), Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys).