Cronulla Sharks, St George Illawarra Dragons players named in Australia's 2017 World Cup squad

Green and gold: Sharks five-eighth James Maloney representing the Prime Minister's XIII last month. Picture: Brendan Esposito/NRL Photos
Green and gold: Sharks five-eighth James Maloney representing the Prime Minister's XIII last month. Picture: Brendan Esposito/NRL Photos

Six Cronulla and St George Illawarra players have been chosen in Australia’s squad for the World Cup.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga named a 24-man squad on Tuesday morning that includes seven of Melbourne’s premiership winners including Australia captain Cameron Smith.

Dragons Tyson Frizell and Josh Dugan have been named in the squad alongside Sharks quartet Andrew Fifita, James Maloney, Valentine Holmes and debutant Wade Graham.

Meninga said he was happy with the squad.

“This squad has the right mix of youth and experience, as well as an overall balance across the positions for a World Cup campaign,” he said.

“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.”

Dane Gagai, Felise Kaufusi, Jordan McLean, Cameron Munster and Tom Trbojevic join Graham as debutants in the squad, while there was no room for Tigers fullback James Tedesco, Sharks utility Jack Bird or Test incumbent winger Blake Ferguson.

Ben Hunt, who will join the Dragons from Brisbane next season, was also named as the back-up hooker for Smith, beating Sydney Roosters rake Jake Friend to the position because of his versatility and an impressive stint at hooker with the Broncos. 

Roosters captain Boyd Cordner was named as Smith’s vice-captain. Smith, Kaufusi, McLean and Munster will be joined by Storm teammates Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers.

The full Kangaroos World Cup squad will travel to Fiji for an exhibition match against both Fiji and PNG on October 14.

The World Cup starts on October 27 when reigning champions Australia face England in Melbourne in Pool A.

Australia, who are 10-time world champions, will also face France in Canberra on November 3 and Lebanon in Sydney on November 11.

The final will be played in Brisbane on December 2 as part of a double header with the women’s World Cup final.

Australia 2017 World Cup squad:

Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk, Josh Dugan, Andrew Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Wade Graham, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Felise Kaufusi, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, James Maloney, Jordan McLean, Michael Morgan, Cameron Munster, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Aaron Woods.

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