Cowboys named for Anzac Test
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has been named to play in the Australian Kangaroos side for the 2017 Anzac Test on Friday 5 May.
Teammates Michael Morgan (interchange) and Justin O'Neill (20th man) were also selected by the Australian Rugby League Commission to play New Zealand at Canberra's GIO Stadium.
The match will be Australian captain Cameron Smith’s 50th Test match, as well as his 27th as captain.
Smith will become just the second player to play 50 Test matches for Australia, behind Darren Lockyer (59), while he will also join Clive Churchill as Australia’s second most-capped captain.
The 20-man squad contains five club captains (or co-captains) – Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys), Aaron Woods (Tigers), Darius Boyd (Brisbane), Cameron Smith (Storm) and Boyd Cordner (Roosters).
“This is an incredibly important game for us, coming in a World Cup year,” Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said.
“Any Test match is important, but the fact this will be Cameron’s 50th Test match certainly adds some extra significance.
“Cameron’s incredible milestones will form a significant part of our week.”
Meninga said that given the short preparation, he and Kangaroos selectors had looked to reward those who played in the successful Four Nations campaign in 2016.
“Not only do these players have established combinations with each other, but they are also well aware of our values,” Meninga said.
“However the State of Origin series and then the remainder of the NRL Premiership will be major considerations when we look to name our squad for the World Cup later this year.”
The Kangaroos squad will assemble on Monday 1 May in Canberra.
2017 Anzac Test Kangaroos squad (with NRL and junior clubs):
Fullback: Darius Boyd (Broncos) – Mudgeeraba Redbacks
Wing: Blake Ferguson (Roosters) – Wellington Cowboys/Earlwood Saints
Centre: Josh Dugan (Dragons) – South Tuggeranong Knights/Valley Dragons
Centre: Will Chambers (Storm) – Nhulunbuy, NT
Wing: Valentine Holmes (Sharks) – Western Lions/Townsville
Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (vc) – (Cowboys) – Souths Sunnybank
Halfback: Cooper Cronk (Storm) – Souths Acacia
Prop: Aaron Woods (Tigers) – Leichhardt Juniors
Hooker: Cameron Smith (c) (Storm) – Logan Brothers
Prop: David Klemmer (Bulldogs) – All Saints Toongabbie
Second row: Boyd Cordner (Roosters) – Old Bar Pirates
Second row: Matt Gillett (Broncos) – Bribie Island Warrigals
Lock: Trent Merrin (Panthers) – Shellharbour Sharks
Interchange: Michael Morgan (Cowboys) – Townsville Brothers
Interchange: Josh Papalii (Raiders) – Logan Brothers
Interchange: Tyson Frizell (Dragons) – Corrimal Cougars
Interchange: Sam Thaiday (Broncos) – Townsville Brothers
18th man: Shannon Boyd (Raiders) – Cowra Magpies
19th man: James Maloney (Sharks) – St Edwards, Gosford
20th man: Justin O’Neill (Cowboys) – Hughenden Hawks/Townsville Brothers