How Australia could line-up at the Rugby League World Cup

·6-min read
Australia World Cup line-up Credit: PA Images
Australia World Cup line-up Credit: PA Images

We’re creating how each nation could line-up ahead of the World Cup, in collaboration with He Can Play For. This week, it’s Australia!

In these weekly feature pieces, we are selecting our predicted side who can represent Samoa. This can include players born in that country, with heritage to the nation or even residency.

The first 15 were France, Jamaica, Cook Islands, Fiji, Ireland, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Scotland, England, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa. Now it is time for Australia

How Australia could line-up at the Rugby League World Cup:

1. James Tedesco

James Tedesco Australia PA Credit: PA Images
James Tedesco Australia PA Credit: PA Images

Tedesco made his international debut for Italy in 2013 and has represented his Italian heritage at the last two World Cups.

The Sydney Roosters superstar switched allegiances to birth nation Australia in 2018, and has since won four caps. Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has publicly said that Tedesco has a good chance of being captain this autumn.

2. Josh Addo-Carr

Josh Addo-Carr Canterbury Bulldogs PA Credit: PA Images
Josh Addo-Carr Canterbury Bulldogs PA Credit: PA Images

Addo-Carr is one of the fastest players in the world. The Bulldogs speedster has played 12 games for New South Wales in the State of Origin arena and twice for Australia on the international stage.

The 27-year-old has also proudly represented the Indigenous All Stars.

3. Latrell Mitchell

Latrell Mitchell Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Latrell Mitchell Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

The Taree-born two-time NRL Grand Final winner is a genuine superstar. He has won four caps for Australia since making his international debut in 2018.

Mitchell has played seven Origin games for the Blues and represented the Indigenous All Stars four times.

4. Joseph Sua’ali’i

Joseph Sua'ali'i Sydney Roosters PA Credit: PA Images
Joseph Sua'ali'i Sydney Roosters PA Credit: PA Images

Sua’ali’i is one of the most sought-after players in the game, and he is still only 19 years of age.

The 6ft 5in utility back has scored 16 tries in 23 first-grade game for the Roosters so far. He is eligible to play for both Australia and Samoa, so it will be interesting to see which nation he will be playing for at the World Cup.

5. Valentine Holmes

Valentine Holmes Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Valentine Holmes Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

Holmes has been sensational for the Cowboys this season. The 27-year-old has a tremendous try scoring record, having crossed for 17 tries in 13 games for Australia.

Holmes has also played 14 games for Queensland in the Origin arena, scoring 12 tires.

He was born in Queensland to a Cook Islander mother and a New Zealander father. Holmes has hinted that he has been considering playing for the Cook Islands at this World Cup, but he has yet to make his allegiance decision public.

6. Cameron Munster

Cameron Munster Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Cameron Munster Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

Munster is, arguably, the best playmaker in the game right now. He has won two NRL Premierships with Melbourne and helped Australia win the last World Cup in 2017.

The Rockhampton-born stand-off has won six caps for the Kangaroos and played 15 Origin games for the Maroons.

7. Nathan Cleary

Nathan Cleary New South Wales PA Credit: PA Images
Nathan Cleary New South Wales PA Credit: PA Images

Cleary was born and raised in Sydney and is of Croatian heritage. He has yet to make his international debut but his performances for the Panthers will likely see him named in Meninga’s squad at the end of the year.

Cleary has already played 13 games for New South Wales in Origin despite only being 24 years of age. He helped the Panthers win the NRL Premiership last year.

8. Payne Haas

Payne Haas Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Payne Haas Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

Haas was born and raised in Australia, and is of Swiss, Filipino and Samoan heritage.

The 22-year-old powerhouse front-rower has already 80 NRL appearances for Brisbane. He made his international debut for Australia in 2019, and has played nine games for New South Wales.

9. Damien Cook

Damien Cook Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Damien Cook Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

Australia have plenty of strength in depth in the hooking role, with the likes of Ben Hunt (Dragons), Harry Grant (Storm), Api Koroisau (Panthers) and Cook (Rabbitohs) all vying for a spot – but we’ve opted for the latter.

Cook, 31, already has four Kangaroos caps to his name and has played 15 Origin games for the Blues.

10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui Gold Coast Titans PA Credit: PA Images
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui Gold Coast Titans PA Credit: PA Images

Fa’asuamaleaui has already been made captain of Gold Coast Titans despite only being 22. He has a huge future ahead of him.

The forward has already played nine games in the State of Origin for Queensland. He made his international debut for Samoa in 2019, but is likely to represent birth nation Australia at this year’s World Cup.

11. Jeremiah Nanai

Jeremiah Nanai Queensland Maroons PA Credit: PA Images
Jeremiah Nanai Queensland Maroons PA Credit: PA Images

Nanai was born in Henderson, New Zealand and raised in Queensland, Australia. He is also of Samoan heritage.

The 19-year-old, who has scored 18 tries in 24 games for the Cowboys, has yet to make his international debut. With him having played three games for Queensland in State of Origin this year, he is likely to represent Australia but could also play for Samoa.

12. Cameron Murray

Cameron Murray New South Wales Origin PA Credit: PA Images
Cameron Murray New South Wales Origin PA Credit: PA Images

Murray has made more than 100 appearances for the Rabbitohs since making his NRL debut in 2017.

The 24-year-old has already played 10 Origin games for the Blues and made his Australia debut in 2019.

13. Jake Trbojevic

Jake Trbojevic Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Jake Trbojevic Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

Trbojevic has been one of the most consistent forwards in the NRL for years, having played almost 200 games for Manly.

The 28-year-old has won seven caps for the Kangaroos and played 15 games in Origin for New South Wales.

Trbojevic qualifies to play for Serbia alongside his brothers Tom and Ben via their grandfather.

Bench

14. Jack Wighton

Jack Wighton Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images
Jack Wighton Australia Kangaroos PA Credit: PA Images

Wighton is perfect for the number 14 role because of his versatility, being able to play half-back, full-back, centre and wing.

He has made more than 200 career appearances for Canberra since making his NRL debut for the Raiders in 2012.

Wighton has proudly represented the Indigenous All Stars six times. He has won two caps for Australia on the international scene and played 10 games for the Blues in Origin.

15. Isaah Yeo

Isaah Yeo New South Wales Origin PA Credit: PA Images
Isaah Yeo New South Wales Origin PA Credit: PA Images

Yeo has been one of the standout forwards in the NRL over the last couple of seasons. He is approaching the 200-game mark for Penrith, who he won the Premiership with in 2021.

Yeo has played eight times for New South Wales in State of Origin.

16. Patrick Carrigan

Patrick Carrigan Queensland Maroons PA Credit: PA Images
Patrick Carrigan Queensland Maroons PA Credit: PA Images

Carrigan was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia and is of Irish heritage.

The 24-year-old has played more than 50 games for the Broncos and is enjoying his best season to date, playing in all three of Queensland’s 2022 Origin games.

Ireland would have been hoping Carrigan was going to play for them at the World Cup – but his stellar performances in the NRL this year has attracted Australia’s attention.

17. Jai Arrow

Jai Arrow Queensland Maroons PA Credit: PA Images
Jai Arrow Queensland Maroons PA Credit: PA Images

The 27-year-old forward has been a consistent performer for several years now, making more than 120 appearances in the NRL for the Broncos, Titans and Rabbitohs.

He has yet to make his full international debut for Australia – but played for the Kangaroos at the Nines World Cup in 2019. He has played 11 games for the Maroons.

Honourable mentions

Australia have more strength in depth than any other nation at the World Cup due to the large player pool in the NRL.

We’ve had to leave out the likes of Nicho Hynes, Liam Martin, Ryan Matterson, Kurt Capewell, Dal Cherry-Evans, Lindsay Collins, Reuben Cotter, Thomas Flegler and Dane Gagai when creating this line-up.

Coach Meninga will have a very healthy selection headache come the World Cup.

Thanks to He Can Play For for their collaboration, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

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