Kangaroos name five debutants in Pacific Championships squad

Gallagher Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has named five debutants and eight grand finalists as part of a 21-man squad for the upcoming 2023 Pacific Championships which kicks off on October 14.

Rookie Broncos quartet Selwyn Cobbo, Payne Haas, Thomas Flegler and Kotoni Staggs have been named for their first Kangaroos campaign alongside teammate Patrick Carrigan, while three-time premiership-winners Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin have once again been named in the squad.

The Panthers trio were all part of the Kangaroos' successful World Cup victory last November, with Meninga retaining 16 players in his Pacific Championships squad.

Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who played centre for Queensland in their Origin series win earlier this year, is the other debutant in the squad.

James Tedesco will once again captain the side alongside Roosters teammate Lindsay Collins, with Dragons captain Ben Hunt likely to split the hooking role with Storm rake Harry Grant as they did in last year's World Cup campaign.

Meninga said the squad included a good mix of incumbent players and those who have performed well for club and state in 2023. 

“The quality we saw in the regular season, the State of Origin series and the Finals Series means we have been able to put together an outstanding squad,” Meninga said.

“The squad has a healthy blend of representatives from last year’s World Cup, as well as others who have performed extremely well over the course of the season.”

Australia will play its first game of the Pacific Championships against Samoa in Townsville on October 14 before taking on New Zealand in Melbourne on October 28. The final of the tournament will be played the following week in Hamilton.



Story first published on NRL.com

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