Stuart answers the call

Sydney Roosters and New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart has been handed the reins of the Australian rugby league team for 2006.

His appointment was announced by the Australian Rugby League (ARL) at its board meeting in Brisbane today. He replaces Wayne Bennett who resigned on Friday in the wake of the Tri-Nations series final loss to New Zealand.

ARL chairman Colin Love says Stuart will step down from his current representative role as NSW State of Origin coach with North Queensland Cowboys coach Graham Murray walking into that role.