Head Coach Mal Meninga has named two debutants for the Gallagher Kangaroos’ Pacific Championships match against New Zealand on Saturday, October 28.
Tom Flegler (Kangaroos number 850) and Nicho Hynes (851) will play their first match for the Kangaroos at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.
Their selection takes the total number of Kangaroos debutants in the Pacific Championships to six, after Dylan Edwards, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Kotoni Staggs and Selwyn Cobbo represented Australia for the first time in the 38-12 win over Samoa in Townsville.
Cobbo, Liam Martin, Payne Haas and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui won’t back up in the final 17 against the Kiwis, with Meninga backing the talent and depth of the Kangaroos’ 21-man squad.
Flegler and Jake Trbojevic will start in the front row against a formidable New Zealand forward pack, while Valentine Holmes returns to the international arena on the wing.
The versatile Hynes is the new face on the interchange bench, with Reuben Cotter moving into the starting side.
Meninga said it was a great chance for the new additions to put their best foot forward in the AAMI Park clash.
“They’re all great players who deserve the opportunity to represent their country,” Meninga said.
“It’s really important that our full squad gets exposure to the intensity of international football to build confidence and match fitness for the duration of the Pacific Championships.
“Having all players take the field over the course of the first two games means we will be much better placed to handle any of the unknowns, like the possibility of injury or suspension, heading into a final.
“Right at this point though, our full focus is on this Saturday. It’s a massive game for us against an in-form New Zealand team, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in the players who are coming into the side.”
Saturday’s match will mark a special milestone for Holmes and Daly Cherry-Evans, with the Queensland pair to play their 20th matches for the Kangaroos.
The Kangaroos have been preparing in the regional New South Wales city of Albury, with more than 1500 fans attending the squad’s first field session at the Lavington Sports Ground.
Match: Kangaroos v Kiwis
Week 3 -
Fullback for Kangaroos is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Kiwis is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Winger for Kangaroos is number 2 Dylan EdwardsWinger for Kiwis is number 2 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Centre for Kangaroos is number 3 Hamiso Tabuai-FidowCentre for Kiwis is number 3 Matthew Timoko
Centre for Kangaroos is number 4 Kotoni StaggsCentre for Kiwis is number 4 Joseph Manu
Winger for Kangaroos is number 5 Valentine HolmesWinger for Kiwis is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
Five-Eighth for Kangaroos is number 6 Cameron MunsterFive-Eighth for Kiwis is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Kangaroos is number 7 Daly Cherry-EvansHalfback for Kiwis is number 7 Jahrome Hughes
Prop for Kangaroos is number 8 Jake TrbojevicProp for Kiwis is number 8 James Fisher-Harris
Hooker for Kangaroos is number 9 Ben HuntHooker for Kiwis is number 9 Kieran Foran
Prop for Kangaroos is number 10 Thomas FleglerProp for Kiwis is number 10 Moses Leota
2nd Row for Kangaroos is number 11 Cameron Murray2nd Row for Kiwis is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i
2nd Row for Kangaroos is number 12 Reuben Cotter2nd Row for Kiwis is number 12 Briton Nikora
Lock for Kangaroos is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Kiwis is number 13 Joseph Tapine
Interchange for Kangaroos is number 14 Harry GrantInterchange for Kiwis is number 14 Fa'amanu Brown
Interchange for Kangaroos is number 15 Lindsay CollinsInterchange for Kiwis is number 15 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Interchange for Kangaroos is number 16 Patrick CarriganInterchange for Kiwis is number 16 Griffin Neame
Interchange for Kangaroos is number 17 Nicholas HynesInterchange for Kiwis is number 17 Leo Thompson
Replacement for Kangaroos is number 18 Liam MartinReplacement for Kiwis is number 18 Naufahu Whyte
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins