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Australian selectors have today named a 46-man squad for their defence of the Rugby League World Cup starting in October.
It is spearheaded by experienced campaigners Darren Lockyer, Petero Civoniceva, Danny Buderus, Cam Smith and Steve Price; and features the exciting talents of players such as Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Israel Folau, who are among 10 Storm team-mates in the squad.
The squad also includes 11 players yet to debut for Australia at senior level: Ben Cross (Knights), Robbie Farah (Tigers), Michael Jennings (Panthers), Anthony Lafranchi (Titans), Joel Monoghan (Raiders), Nate Myles (Roosters), Josh Perry, Glenn Stewart, Anthony Watmough (Eagles), Justin Poore (Dragons), Anthony Quinn (Storm).
Australian coach Ricky Stuart said today's squad announcement would give all players with hopes of representing the Kangaroos in the 29-day tournament featuring 10 nations something to think about in the final rounds of the NRL.
"We will choose the final team of 24 on October 6 after the NRL Grand Final," Stuart said.
"The final team can include players not featured in the squad announced today, which serves to put players on notice that the Cup is just around the corner and selectors are closely monitoring form.
"The announcement is a reminder to those named that selectors are looking at them very seriously; and to those who are disappointed at not being named, there is still some work to be done, but they are by no means out of contention."
Australia's campaign for a finals berth includes the Opening Ceremony against New Zealand on October 26 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Australia's Centenary encounter against England at Melbourne's Telstra Dome on November 2 and a match against Papua New Guinea in Townsville on November 9.
The Semi-Finals will be played at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on November 15 and the Sydney Football Stadium on November 16; with the November 22 Final at Suncorp Stadium already selling out its public allocation of tickets.
2008 Australian Kangaroos Rugby League World Cup Squad
Braith ANASTA (Roosters) Greg BIRD (Sharks) Danny BUDERUS (Knights) Petero CIVONICEVA (Panthers) Matt COOPER (Dragons) Ben CREAGH (Dragons) Michael CROCKER (Storm) Cooper CRONK (Storm) Ben CROSS (Knights) Robbie FARAH (Tigers) Craig FITZGIBBON (Roosters) Israel FOLAU (Storm) Paul GALLEN (Sharks) Kurt GIDLEY (Knights) Jarryd HAYNE (Eels) Justin HODGES (Broncos) Ryan HOFFMAN (Storm) Karmichael HUNT (Broncos) Greg INGLIS (Storm) Michael JENNINGS (Panthers) Dallas JOHNSON (Storm) Brent KITE (Eagles) Anthony LAFRANCHI (Titans) Darren LOCKYER (Broncos) Willie MASON (Roosters) Joel MONOGHAN (Raiders) Nate MYLES (Roosters) Luke O'DONNELL (Cowboys) Josh PERRY (Eagles) Justin POORE (Dragons) Steve PRICE (Warriors) Scott PRINCE (Titans) Anthony QUINN (Storm) Steve SIMPSON (Knights) Billy SLATER (Storm) Cam SMITH (Storm) Brett STEWART (Eagles) Glenn STEWART (Eagles) Brent TATE (Warriors) Sam THAIDAY (Broncos) Johnathan THURSTON (Cowboys) Anthony TUPOU (Roosters) Anthony WATMOUGH (Eagles) Carl WEBB (Cowboys) Brett WHITE (Storm) Craig WING (Rabbitohs)