New Look Kangaroos To Bring In a Brand New Era
In: Matt Moylan, Dylan Walker, Brett Morris, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh McGuire, Josh Jackson, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra, Josh Papalii, David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita.
Out: Billy Slater, Justin Hodges, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Nate Myles, Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen, Ryan Hoffman, Anthony Watmough, Greg Bird.
These are the huge changes set to sweep through the once mighty Australian Kangaroos after a third straight loss to New Zealand on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.
It wasn’t necessarily the loss but the way the Aussies went down that has the selectors and coaching staff ready to wield the axe ahead of the next World Cup in 2017.
New Zealand completely outplayed the Kangaroos in every facet of the match and deserved their win which was setup on the back of a powerful performance from their front-row rotation and the sheer brilliance of Shaun Johnson and Manu Vatuvei.
“The last three games we’ve played against them — tonight, the Four Nations final and the game here last year to start the Four Nations are almost identical,” captain Cameron Smith said after the loss.
“All three matches we started quite well, we were the first to get across the line in all three games and then for some reason we think that we’ve won the game after one try. They always seem to put a few points on us and then we’re chasing our tail.
“The last 20 minutes of the first half took the game away from us really.”
This isn’t a growing trend, it is the trend.
Australia lacked grunt, polish and the defensive desperation that the Kiwis showed time and time again.
The final nail in the coffin came just prior to half-time with New Zealand already holding a fourteen point lead. Instead of playing for the break, the Kiwis attacked from their own half creating an overlap down the eastern side of Suncorp Stadium. A deft Jason Nightingale kick should have been easily cleaned up by Greg Inglis but instead of grounding the ball in-goal, Inglis tried to palm it dead only to make a meal of it and allow Shaun Kenny-Dowall the easiest of tries.
That passage of play sums up this Australian team.
Source: NZAUTV Rugby League
Loyalty and longevity gets you a long way in rugby league but not this far. You could see the dread on some of the veterans’ faces as the game got further and further away. The more passes they pushed, the more went to ground.
The Kangaroos don’t play international football again until next year with nine of the current team over the age of 30 by that that time and that doesn’t include Slater, Gallen, Hoffman or Watmough while Bronco Hodges has all but confirmed his Australian retirement.
But Greg Bird believes these Kangaroos aren’t dead in the water just yet.
“There’s still a lot of talent in this team – there’s a lot of football left in these guys,” Bird said.
“Everyone goes back to club land now and there’s not another Test for 12 months so we’ve just got to soak it in and realise the pain we are going through right now.
“When the time comes next year and if everyone is playing football good enough to deserve a spot back within this team you’ll get another opportunity.”
Sorry Greg but the fat lady is already on the stage.
The beautiful thing about rugby league is the next generation are only ever a game away.
While Billy Slater didn’t play on the weekend due to injury, Matt Moylan will surely be good enough by next May to begin a new era as custodian while fellow backs Dylan Walker and Brett Morris will be right in contention for the centre and wing positions respectively.
Halfback Cooper Cronk has been a student of the game, a team man.
But Daly Cherry-Evans can’t be held back any longer.
Then there are the forwards.
Ben Matulino, Jesse Bromwich, Martin Taupau and Sam Moa dominated on Sunday.
How do you keep firebrands like Andrew Fifita, Josh McGuire and David Klemmer out of the side now?
By 2016, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra and Josh Jackson would have surpassed the incumbents if they haven’t already.
Possible 2016 Australian Team
5 B. Morris