The Australian Rugby League Commission has today selected the following players to represent the Australian Kangaroos in the 2017 ANZAC Test.
The 2017 ANZAC Test match, against New Zealand at Canberra's GIO Stadium on Friday, May 5, 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 Queensland legend 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) – Darius Boyd (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys), Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers), Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm) and Boyd Cordner (Sydney 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, May 1 in Canberra.
The 2017 ANZAC Test Kangaroos squad is:
1. Darius Boyd
2. Blake Ferguson
3. Josh Dugan
4. Will Chambers
5. Valentine Holmes*
6. Johnathan Thurston
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Aaron Woods
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. David Klemmer
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Matt Gillett
13. Trent Merrin
14. Michael Morgan
15. Josh Papalii
16. Tyson Frizell
17. Sam Thaiday
18th man - Shannon Boyd
19th man - James Maloney
20th man - Justin O’Neill