Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
This season players have had an added incentive to perform well as the Rugby League World Cup awaits those good enough to represent their nation.
A little under two weeks after the NRL Grand Final the World Cup will commence in England and feature 20 nations across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments.
One of the big questions heading into the World Cup is who the Australian selectors will pick to represent the Kangaroos under coach Mal Meninga.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports Meninga revealed how the selectors are going about choosing the squad.
“The finals will have an impact on selections, and Origin will have an impact,” said Meninga.
“Not so much the regular season, I just feel in finals I can make some judgments on big-time players and how they handle the big games, which is exciting.
“You’ll find out the best of people in big games – when you need to win – so we’ll get a better idea on players worth through the finals series.”
The position that is arguably up for grabs more than any other in the Australian squad is the role of hooker.
— Gallagher Australian Kangaroos (@Kangaroos) September 8, 2022
Ben Hunt, Harry Grant, Damien Cook and Apisai Koroisau all have a chance of securing the number nine jersey.
Meninga has given his thoughts on this battle and revealed how many hookers will be selected in the 30-man squad.
“It’s a good headache to have, I’m excited by the prospect. I feel we need two specialist hookers to take on a tour of this length, so there’s two spots up for grabs,” Meninga said.
“I’ve got some things I like to see in a No. 9 and I’ve spoken to selectors and they’re in agreement, so we’ll see how it pans out over the next month.”
This revelation that the Australian selectors may only go with two hookers could convince Koroisau to pledge his allegiance to Fiji for the World Cup as he will then be guaranteed game time.
While the selectors will also heavily be going off of finals form, players who are going to be selected from the bottom eight teams may have already been informed so that they know to maintain their fitness.