With the Kangaroos heading to England in October to try and defend their World Cup crown, players across the NRL will be out to stake their claims for a berth in Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos squad.
Form at NRL level will determine who makes the Origin sides mid-season and those NSW and Queensland players will have the inside running for a green and gold jersey.
Every month this season, for a series presented by Gallagher, retired greats Steve Renouf, Josh Morris and Michael Morgan will select a 17-man Australian squad with a composite team then assembled based on their most popular picks.
Renouf played 11 Tests for his country and scored Australia’s only try in the 1992 World Cup final triumph over England at Wembley while Morgan was part of the Kangaroos side that beat England 6-0 in Brisbane in the 2017 World Cup final.
Morris played six Tests for Australia and was part of Australia’s successful 2013 World Cup campaign.
There will be a final team announced at the end of the season.
Incumbency and career achievements will not be part of the selection criteria, it’s all about form, so the trio’s teams aren’t necessarily a reflection of who they believe should make Australia’s next official site.
Kangaroos Form Team of the Month: June
No real surprises in the back-line with all five players selected by more than one expert and several unanimous selections by all three experts. Remarkably, almost every player in the composite team is currently set to play in Game Three of the Ampol State of Origin series, with only Payne Haas – who was ruled out with a shoulder injury – not likely to feature in the Suncorp Stadium decider.
Patrick Carrigan forms an all-Broncos front row alongside Haas, with Cowboys edge forward Tom Gilbert earning a start in the back row alongside Liam Martin.
Matt Burton finds his way on to the bench after starring in the Bulldogs’ recent turnaround as well as the Blues big win in Origin II, joining fellow forwards Junior Paulo, Jake Trbojevic and Josh Papali’i in rounding out the 17-man side.
Josh Morris’ Kangaroos Form Team
1. James Tedesco 2. Josh Addo-Carr 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Valentine Holmes 5. Brian To’o 6. Cameron Munster 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Junior Paulo 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Patrick Carrigan 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo (14. Reuben Cotter 15. Payne Haas 16. Tom Gilbert 17. Matt Burton)
Josh Addo-Carr has been in fine form despite missing Origin selection and he finds his way on to the wing for Josh Morris’ side, while Apisai Koroisau – who has returned to the Origin arena and started Game Two at hooker – wins the race for the number nine jersey. Elsewhere, Manly forward Haumole Olakau’atu is an in-form selection in the back row while Reuben Cotter’s Origin debut and form prior to his injury is enough for him to find his way on to the interchange list, where he joins fellow Origin representatives Payne Haas, Tom Gilbert and Matt Burton.
This week’s edition of Burton’s Bombs
Michael Morgan’s Kangaroos Form Team
1. James Tedesco 2. Selwyn Cobbo 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Valentine Holmes 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Cameron Munster 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Payne Haas 9. Reece Robson 10. Patrick Carrigan 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo (14. Scott Drinkwater 15. Josh Papali’i 16. Hudson Young 17. Ryan Matterson)
A distinct Cowboys flavor to Michael Morgan’s side with five of Todd Payten’s side included – and for good reason given their form this year! Murray Taulagi finds his way on to the wing outside of Valentine Holmes, while Reece Robson earns a start at hooker with Tom Gilbert named in the back row alongside Liam Martin.
Scott Drinkwater can’t beat out James Tedesco for the fullback role but does his find his way on to the bench alongside Raiders forward Hudson Young, who currently sits as the club’s equal leading try-scorer this year with an impressive run of form.
Young finds the line again
Steve Renouf’s Kangaroos Form Team
1. James Tedesco 2. Selwyn Cobbo 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Matt Burton 5. Brian To’o 6. Cameron Munster 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Payne Haas 9. Damien Cook 10. Josh Papali’i 11. Jake Trbojevic 12. Cameron Murray 13. Isaah Yeo (14. Ben Hunt 15. Harry Grant 16. Junior Paulo 17. Patrick Carrigan)
Bulldogs five-eighth Matt Burton was a star at Origin level in the centers and he finds his way into the back-line for Steve Renouf’s side – partnering former Panthers teammates Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o in the outside backs.
Damien Cook gets the nod at hooker after producing some of his best football of late for the Rabbitohs, while Josh Papali’i’s immense efforts for the Raiders also haven’t gone unnoticed as he starts in the front row alongside Payne Haas. Ben Hunt’s work to get the Dragons in the top eight sees him join the bench alongside Harry Grant, with Junior Paulo and Patrick Carrigan rounding out the side.