Hoffman returns for Kangaroos

PA Sport
Full-back Billy Slater looks to be a certain starter for Australia

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Full-back Billy Slater looks to be a certain starter for Australia

Veteran forward Ryan Hoffman is one of four Melbourne Storm players named in the Australia side to face New Zealand in the one-off Test in Townsville on October 13.

Hoffman, who last represented Australia in 2009, joins Melbourne's big three of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Clive Churchill Medallist Cooper Cronk, in Tim Sheens' 17-man squad. Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has recovered from a broken hand and will fill the utility role.

Sheens declared Slater a certain starter despite reports the incumbent full-back is in doubt with a knee injury. "I've been told Billy's right," Sheens said. "There was some report about him being in doubt but as far as I know I've been told he's right. The fitness tests and medicals will be on Thursday, at that stage we'll know a little better."

Several players - Sam Thaiday, Ben Hannant, Justin Hodges, Anthony Watmough, Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, Luke Lewis and Brent Tate - were not considered for selection due to injury.

"Injury did force us to bring in a couple of new faces, particularly in the back-row, although they've played in Test series with me before over the last four years," Sheens added. "There's no debutants, they've all had good seasons with their clubs and State of Origin and I think most of them have got some good form on the board so it's a pretty strong side."

Meanwhile, seven players from the Grand Final feature in the 19-man Kiwis squad. Melbourne provide Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor, while Canterbury's stellar season sees them contribute three forwards - Greg Eastwood, Kasiano and Frank Pritchard - as well as the outside backs Krisnan Inu and Sam Perrett.

The other uncapped player is Manly utility back Dean Whare but there is no place for Wigan scrum-half Thomas Leuluai.

Australia: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Josh Morris, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (c), James Tamou, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen, Nate Myles, Robbie Farah, Ryan Hoffman, David Shillington, Tony Williams.

New Zealand: Gerard Beale, Jesse Bromwich, Greg Eastwood, Kieran Foran, Josh Hoffman, Krisnan Inu, Shaun Johnson, Sam Kasiano, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Benji Marshall, Ben Matulino, Sam McKendry, Sam Perrett, Frank Pritchard, Kevin Proctor, Jeremy Smith, Elijah Taylor, Dean Whare.

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