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Just two Roosters in Roos' World Cup squad

NRL premierships normally translated into Australian Test jumpers, but not in the new-age world of the multicultural code.
Just two Roosters in Roos' World Cup squad
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Oct 7 AAP - NRL premierships normally translated into Australian Test jumpers, but not in the new-age world of the multicultural code.

Just three players who turned out in Sunday's NRL grand final between Sydney Roosters and Manly were named in Australia's 24-man to contest the World Cup - premiers the Roosters supplying two in uncapped Boyd Cordner and Michael Jennings with Clive Churchill medallist Daly Cherry-Evans Manly's sole representative.

Quizzed as to the apparent snub, Australian Test coach Tim Sheens pointed a shortage of candidates, with the Roosters resembling a league of nations.

Should Shaun Kenny-Dowall (suspected broken jaw) and Sonny Bill Williams be available, the Roosters could have as many as six players in the New Zealand squad, while another five players could be pulling on a variety of jumpers at the season-ending tournament.

"You look at how many New Zealanders are in their (Roosters) squad and other guys that will be playing across the World Cup, most of the Roosters squad will feature in some jersey in the World Cup," Sheens said.

Of the Roosters who were up for selection, only halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney would have entered discussions, but selectors opted to stick with Queensland trio Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cherry-Evans.

The lack of Sea Eagles in the squad is mainly due to injury and lack of interest, with Jamie Lyon - who would have been an automatic selection - having quit representative footy and Anthony Watmough and the Stewart brothers all ruled out with injury.

Manly should still have Kieran Foran (NZ), Steve Matai (Samoa), Jorge Taufua (Tonga or Samoa), Brent Kite (Tonga) and James Hasson (Ireland) at the World Cup.

The Kangaroos had a familiar look to them, with Cordner, Cronulla's Andrew Fifita and Canberra wrecking ball Josh Papalii the only uncapped players in the squad.

Cordner's selection caps a dream 2013 season, during which he collected his first NSW Origin jumper and an NRL premiership.

The 21-year-old returned from seven weeks on the sidelines following ankle surgery to play in Sunday night's 26-18 grand final win to the Roosters - a performance which merely rubber-stamped his selection.

"For some weeks we've been watching where he was up to with his injury," Sheens said.

"But the fact that he played last night proved his fitness.

"He'd been on our radar most of the year, last night just confirmed his ability."

Sheens admitted many players picked themselves in his first-choice line-up, with the centre spot left vacant by the season-ending achilles injury to Justin Hodges and make-up of the bench the biggest question marks going into the tournament opener against England in Cardiff on October 26.

"The centres with Tate, Josh Moris and Jenno I think we've got that pretty well covered," Sheens said.

"Jenno's certainly had a really good year, although he plays left centre and the main position open at the moment is right centre.

"I think these guys left or right, I don't think that's going to be an issue for them.

"That will be another challenge, who's going to get that vacant right centre spot for Justin."

The squad will gather in Sydney for medicals on Thursday and a training session on Sunday before flying out next Monday.


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