The Panthers’ Grand Final heroes were unable to cement a spot, while Damien Cook’s incumbency counted for little as a Souths’ teammate bolted into the World Cup.
Read on for all the winners and losers from the Kangaroos’ World Cup squad.
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The South Sydney centre was a real Kangaroos bolter after he was not included in the Scotland squad, but was rewarded for his body of work over the last couple of seasons.
The 23-year-old has scored 48 tries in 110 NRL games and is an excellent defender and one of Souths’ most consistent players over the last few seasons, but centre is not a position the Kangaroos struggle for options in.
Graham scored five tries in 20 games in 2022 to go with six try assists and 12 linebreaks, but he had an injury interrupted finish to the season and required needles just to play in the finals series.
The Bulldogs five-eighth’s versatility was not doubt a huge factor in his selection with his ability to cover the halves and the centres.
The 22-year-old has scored 26 tries in 56 NRL games and had six tries, 16 try assists and seven linebreaks in 2022, despite the Bulldogs’ struggles.
Burton proved he can make the step up to the representative arena after he starred in the Origin series for the Blues and he could be a starting option with Latrell Mitchell in the centres.
The 24-year-old has been touted as a Kangaroos captain of the future from a young age and won his place on the back of an outstanding Origin series for Queensland.
Carrigan has scored zero tries in 60 games for the Broncos and had 1,851 metres, 16 tackle busts, 20 offloads and 401 tackles in 14 games for the Broncos in 2022.
Carrigan is down the pecking order for locks behind Isaah Yeo and Cameron Murray, but will come into consideration for a bench spot.
The fiery front-rower no doubt benefited from the Kangaroos front-rower exodus to Samoa, but deserves his place on the back of his consistent form for club and state in recent seasons.
The 26-year-old has scored three tries in 65 NRL games and had 1,438 metres, 12 tackle busts and 11 offloads in 16 games in 2022.
Collins had a number of concussion issues this season, but his six Origins for Queensland will hold him in good stead for the step up to international footy.
The 23-year-old is one of 13 debutants in the squad and capped a remarkable year for the Cowboys with selection for the Kangaroos.
Cotter has scored two tries in 39 NRL games and had 2,028 metres, three linebreaks and 35 tackle busts in 18 games in 2022.
Cotter’s versatility in covering front row, back row and hooker no doubt worked in his favour and he proved in his remarkable Origin debut that he is up to international standard.
The dual premiership winner won his place in the squad on the back of his consistent form for the Panthers on their run to three straight grand finals.
The 25-year-old has scored 17 tries in 86 NRL games and had 1,958 metres, seven tries, nine linebreaks and 33 tackle busts in 22 games in 2022 for Penrith.
Martin’s six Origins for the Blues over the last two seasons and his big game experience for Penrith, as well as his connection with the fellow Panthers selected no doubt worked in his favour.
The Eels enforcer’s selection was no surprise, but he no doubt benefited from the defection of Junior Paulo and Josh Papalii to Samoa in earning a recall five years after his last cap for the Kangaroos.
The 29-year-old has scored 17 tries in 183 NRL games and had 3,728 metres, four linebreaks and 33 tackle busts for the Eels in 2022 on their charge to the grand final.
Campbell-Gillard is likely to start in the front row after not playing for his country since the last World Cup back in 2017.
After committing to the Kangaroos via secret pact with Cowboys teammate Murray Taulagi, Nanai was rewarded for his outstanding season that saw him crowned one of the Dally M second-rowers of the year.
The 19-year-old has scored 18 tries in 27 NRL games and had 1,965 run metres, 10 linebreaks, 43 tackle busts and a record for a forward 17 tries in 2022.
Nanai starred for the Maroons in Origin and is a real chance for a bench spot in Mal Meninga’s best 17 at the World Cup.
The 23-year-old capped off a remarkable season for the Cowboys with selection in his first Kangaroos squad, but was no doubt helped by the defections of Joseph Suaalii and Daniel Tupou.
Taulagi has scored 29 tries in 55 NRL games, including 17 in 2022 to go with 3,251 metres, 15 linebreaks, 69 tackle busts and four try assists in 25 games.
Taulagi struggled under the high ball in his Origin debut for Queensland, but was rewarded for his consistent season for the Cowboys.
After leading the Panthers to back-to-back premierships, Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans may still wear the No.7 ahead of Nathan Cleary.
Cherry-Evans was the incumbent, having last played in 2019, but Cleary has since emerged as one of the competition’s best players and was widely tipped to make his Australian Test debut.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga highlighted Cherry-Evans performance in the Maroons huge Origin series victory.
“It is a good question, but Daly is the incumbent as well, so he was there three years ago and had a really good season, particularly in Origin,” Meninga said.
“Origin is considered the biggest series of the year, we will consider all options, that is what a tour is about.
“Everyone will have an opportunity to prove that they deserve to be at the back end of the tour.”
Cleary finished the season with 21 try assists from 17 games, compared to Cherry-Evans’ 20 from 22 appearances.
It is a case of wrong place, wrong time for Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards.
Fresh off winning a Clive Churchill Medal with a mammoth grand final performance for Penrith, many tipped the 26-year-old to deputise for James Tedesco.
However, Mal Meninga explained Edwards was only selected as a standby player because a number of the big-name stars selected could also play fullback if needed.
Valentine Holmes, Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell could slot into fullback should Tedesco go down injured.
“I know Dylan can play right wing as well, but if you look at the squad, our best player and our captain plays fullback,” Meninga said.
“We have a couple of players in our squad who also can play there if need be.”
Edwards led the competition for running metres and total carries, scoring nine tries in 25 games.
Rabbitohs dummyhalf Damien Cook wore the No.9 jersey last time the Kangaroos took the field in 2019, but has only been included as a standby in 2022.
Storm gun Harry Grant and Dragons veteran Ben Hunt have been picked to play in the No.9 and No.14 jerseys, leaving Cook out of the squad.
The 31-year-old had a solid season, but was edged out of the NSW Blues starting side by Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau.
Souths were bundled out of the finals by the eventual premiers and an Origin series loss did nothing to help his chances.
Cook finished the year with nine tries and eight try assists, which was not enough to earn the No.9 jersey once more.
Many pundits tipped Panthers star Apisai Koroisau to make his Test debut for Australia at this year’s World Cup.
Koroisau played a starring role in Penrith’s premiership charge and was one of the mountain men’s best throughout the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The 29-year-old forced his way into the Blues starting side and was arguably the Panthers best in the preliminary final against the Rabbitohs this season.
Koroisau finished the year with 13 try assists, five tries and eight line breaks and will move to the Tigers for the 2023 season.
Broncos veteran Kurt Capewell was a victim of Brisbane’s stunning final capitulation this season.
Coach Mal Meninga picked Angus Crichton, Liam Martin and Jeremiah Nanai ahead of the former Panther, however many tipped Capewell to get the nod.
Capewell played a crucial role in the Maroons’ Origin series victory, but was unable to showcase his talents as Kevin Walters side dropped out of the finals race.
The 29-year-old is clearly a leader, however Meninga chose to pick the Blues back row pairing and invest in youth.
Matt Lodge was tipped to be included in the Kangaroos squad after an impressive back end of the year with the Roosters.
After a sour exit from the Warriors, the 27-year-old excelled in Bondi and formed a strong partnership with Kiwi front rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Fox League’s Corey Parker tipped Lodge to be on the plane to England, but Meninga chose to take Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Patrick Carrigan, Lindsay Collins, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Reuben Cotter and Jake Trbojevic instead.
Lodge averaged 116 metres per game from 13.4 carries this season, scoring two tries and breaking 41 tackles.
Broncos speedster Selwyn Cobbo burst onto the scene with a red hot start to the 2022 season.
The 20-year-old’s performances were so impressive he earned a call-up to the Maroons side and was a solid performer in Queensland’s series victory.
However, an ugly head knock and fatigue kept him off the field for seven games and his form dropped away at the back end of the season.
Cobbo still managed 15 tries from 18 games to go with 21 line breaks and 92 tackle breaks but ultimately fell behind Josh Addo-Carr and Murray Taulagi.
James Tedesco (c)
Cameron Murray (vc)
Isaah Yeo (vc)
Cameron Murray (vc)
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