Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans), Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Paul Gallen (Cronulla- Sutherland Sharks), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels), Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters), Luke Lewis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Brett Morris (St George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Morris (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans), Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders), Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos), Matthew Scott (North Queensland Cowboys), Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm), Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm), James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys), Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
Head coach: Tim Sheens
26.10.2013 vs England (Cardiff)
02.11.2013 vs Fiji (Hull)
09.11.2013 vs Ireland (Limerick)
Andrew Fifita – The big Cronulla Sharks prop has had a breakthrough season at club and representative level. His endless energy charging the ball through the middle earned him selection for New South Wales this year, and now the Kangaroos. If uncontained, Fifita will pick up easy metres for the Australians, and give the backline room to move.
Cooper Cronk – It came as a surprise to some to see Cronk selected as the NRL Dally M medallist in 2013 but the Melbourne Storm halfback has always been a clever football custodian. Noted for his hard work off the field, Cronk is always looking to improve and perform at all levels. Coming off a season where the Storm struggled in their last few matches, including two straight finals losses, expect the hard working Cronk to be fired up and keen to show his selection as the NRLs best player in 2013 was deserved.
Jarryd Hayne – The ‘Hayne Plane’ spent a lot of 2013 grounded through injury, and the World Cup may be what is needed for Jarryd to take off again. After his amazing 2009 season, Hayne hasn’t quite reached the same heights, not helped by a struggling Parramatta club. Back in a side that should dominate most opposition, Hayne will have less pressure and more chances, and as a result will be able to find himself back towards his best.
The Australian side are always the favourites pre-tournament, but that brings with it the pressure to perform. The 2008 squad fell at the final hurdle with a poor final display that showed despite their experience, nerves can still get the better of the side. On paper, it is hard to see other sides troubling the Kangaroos. For most squads, you see areas to target, however the Australian side has a slick back line, controlling halves, and strong forwards. The number of options that exist for coach Tim Sheens means he can manage player workloads across the tournament while still fielding strong sides.
It is hard to see the Australian side dropping a match this tournament. They will cruise past the group stages, and if they hold their nerve, will prove too good for any sides they face from there. Their biggest threat will be current World Cup holders New Zealand, however Australia are the best side in the tournament and the results should show.
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