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4 days ago
Melbourne veteran Matt Geyer and retiring Brisbane five-eighth Ben Ikin have emerged as Kangaroo tour wildcards with incumbent Australian pivot Shaun Timmins expected to rule himself out of the tour this week.
Timmins has ongoing knee problems, meaning the National Rugby League finals series shapes as audition time for the players in the Australian five-eighth mix.
Ikin's Brisbane teammate Shaun Berrigan and Penrith's Craig Gower have the early edge, but Geyer and Ikin can press their claims by leading their sides deep into the finals series.
Ikin, who has already announced he will hang up his boots at the end of the season, isn't holding out much hope and joked on Monday about his prospects of touring with the Australian side.
At a Broncos press conference on the Gold Coast, Ikin was detailing his injury problems and the fact his season would be over after the grand final when Brisbane captain Gorden Tallis interjected and said "don't forget the 'roo tour.
Ikin replied: "Yeah and maybe the 'roo tour where I'll pick up the Golden Boot for player of the year."
But national selector Les Geeves said Ikin could come back into calculations with a strong showing in the finals series.
"He's got No.6 on his back and he's played for Queensland and if his form warrants it, there's no reason why he won't be picked," Geeves said.
"It all depends on his form."
Geyer has been outstanding for the Storm on their run to the finals and his utility value could weigh heavily in his favour.
Melbourne prop Robbie Kearns said Geyer, who played three State of Origin games for NSW in 1999, wouldn't let anyone down.
"If you asked me that at the start of the year I most probably would have said no," Kearns said of Geyer's prospects.
"I think he's one of those players who plays well when there's good players around him.
"Without being a Brad Fittler or a Trent Barrett in the sense that he's a real matchwinner, he wouldn't let anyone down in the five-eighth position."
"On a Kangaroo tour I think a guy like Matt Geyer would be sensational in that he can play five-eighth through to fullback."
Gower is almost certain to tour and could be considered as a five-eighth after an outstanding season with the Panthers while Berrigan was considered in the position for the test against New Zealand earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Ikin admits it's been tough to continue playing with his knee problem.
"It's just degenerating and I train less and less as the season goes on but that's the reason I'm retiring," Ikin said.
"If I worked it our correctly I've got five games to go now `til when we win the grand final.
"It's been like that the whole season and I've managed it."