Vodafone Warriors-bound back rower Ryan Hoffman has been named but consistent Queensland State of Origin prop Jacob Lillyman has been overlooked for the Kangaroos’ Four Nations campaign starting against the Kiwis at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday week (October 25).
It’s a tough call for the 30-year-old Lillyman who had an outstanding season for the Vodafone Warriors and also featured again in the Origin arena.
Playing all 24 NRL matches, Lillyman was the club’s second top metre gainer with 2927 metres (an average of 122 metres a game) with only Manu Vatuvei ahead of him (3435 metres, averaging 149 a game).
Making only four errors all season, Lillyman backed up his ball-carrying numbers with 595 tackles (an average of 25 a game), third behind Nathan Friend (1205) and Simon Mannering (790).
The Australian selectors have opted for just two recognised props in Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers) and debutant David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown) although Brisbane’s Corey Parker was used in the front row during the NRL season. It would seem his club-mate Sam Thaiday will be doing some time up front along with Canberra’s Josh Papalii.
The Australian squad is heavy on established back rowers. Apart from Hoffman, Papalii, Parker and Thaiday, others named are Greg Bird, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra, Josh Jackson and Beau Scott.
As well as Klemmer the other new faces selected are Guerra, Jackson, Ben Hunt, Alex Johnston, Josh Mansour, Sione Mata'utia, Daniel Tupou, Dylan Walker and Woods.
Only seven players from Australia’s Anzac Test squad have been selected for the Four Nations. The Kiwis have 14 players from the same Test.
Another point of interest is the inclusion of four Sydney Roosters in the squad in the shape of Cordner, Guerra, Tupou and Michael Jennings yet their team-mates Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were unavailable for the Kiwis with burnout cited.
FOUR NATIONS - KANGAROOS
Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans)
Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)
Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)
Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)
Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers)
Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters)
Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne Storm)
Ben Hunt (Brisbane Broncos)
Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Josh Jackson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters)
Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Josh Mansour (Penrith Panthers)
Sione Mata’utia (Newcastle Knights)
Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)
Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)
Beau Scott (Newcastle Knights)
Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm) captain
Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)
Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
Dylan Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)