AUSTRALIAN coach Mal Meninga has confirmed his squad for the Rugby League World Cup - after the 24-man Kangaroos outfit was leaked on Monday night.
Melbourne Storm will have seven representatives after winning the NRL premiership, headlined by legendary fullback Billy Slater, plus rookies Jordan McLean and Felise Kaufusi. Cameron Smith will captain Australia as always, while Cooper Cronk, Cameron Munster and Will Chambers also made the cut.
Brisbane and Cronulla are also well represented.
NSW fullback James Tedesco was a high-profile omission despite winning the RLPA's player-voted best and fairest award.
Meninga revealed that he had made just one phone call to an omitted player: Roosters outside back Blake Ferguson, who has been a Kangaroos regular under the current coach. Meninga said Ferguson was disappointed but was told the decision had been made on form.
"The only player I rang was Blake Ferguson," Meninga said.
"He was upset. He wasn't in the best of form."
Sydney Roosters and NSW captain Boyd Cordner was named the team's vice-captain.
"This squad has the right mix of youth and experience, as well as an overall balance across the positions for a World Cup campaign," Meninga said in a statement.
"It was selected based on form, performances in the State of Origin series as well as previously in the green and gold jersey.
"We have a number of players who can play multiple positions and that will be an advantage over the course of what we hope will be six matches."
Kangaroos squad: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Munster, Michael Morgan, James Maloney, Aaron Woods, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, Andrew Fifita, Jake Trbojevic, Jordan McLean, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Smith, Ben Hunt.
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