Michael Morgan beats Cam Munster for Kangaroos’ No.6

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    Michael Morgan has held off a challenge from Cameron Munster for the five-eighth spot in the Kangaroos’ Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Samoa.

    Coach Mal Meninga also selected Josh McGuire to start at lock, while rookie Reagan Campbell-Gillard will fill one of the bench spots.

    After rotating his squad through the qualifying games, Meninga promised to select his best 17 available in Darwin for what is a must-win clash.

    “A lot of pressure internally by some of the younger ones but at this stage I’ll go with the tried and true and go with the team that has got some good experience,” Meninga said on Tuesday.

    Munster made a huge push to partner Cooper Cronk against Samoa after scoring four tries in Australia’s final two pool games of the tournament.

    However Meninga stuck with Morgan, who was quiet in their opening win over England but set up two tries in their rout of France before being rested against Lebanon.

    McGuire moves into the starting line-up after the season-ending injury to Jake Trbojevic, paving the way for Campell-Gillard to beat Felise Kaufusi for the final bench position.

    McGuire’s promotion comes six months after captaining Samoa in a mid-year Test.

    Meninga said the five-eighth role and his bench were his toughest decisions.

    “When you look at our 13, it picks itself in a way. But there was plenty of pressure being exerted by the younger ones,” he said.

    “Our bench was the one we mused over a fair bit considering who we play against. Samoa are a big side. I went with what we thought was good against England because they’ve got a big side.

    The Kangaroos have won both previous Tests against Samoa, with victory on Friday setting up a semi-final clash with either New Zealand or Fiji in Brisbane.

    Kangaroos team
    Billy Slater, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Michael Morgan, Cooper Cronk, Aaron Woods, Cameron Smith (c), David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Wade Graham, Jordan McLean, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Tyson Frizell. Extended bench: Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster, James Maloney, Ben Hunt.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • November 15th 2017 @ 7:42am
      Peter Phelps said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      What more does the poor guy have to do ?

      Mom in his Origin debut then 2 tries in each of 2 games at international level, not to mention his premiership performances. This is a poor choice.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 8:09am
        Michael Keeffe said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        As good as Munster was, Cameron Smith was rightly man of the match in Origin 3. Munster has definitely done all he can but if you didn’t pick Michael Morgan the same thing could be said. Morgan was the form and most dominant half in the competition for the latter part of the year and led an under strength Cowboys to an unlikely Grand Final appearance. Is a big game player who has delivered in Origins and Finals games consistently. Sometimes there are a couple of great options but as impressive as Munster has been Morgan is still the right choice.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 8:27am
      Andrew said | November 15th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Morgan is the right choice. Munster’s time will come. Morgan/Munster could easily be the halves combo for Australia this time next year, depending on which of the old guard retire from rep football.

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 9:26am
      Nat said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Not surprising, although I thought a bench spot may have been there for Munster if this is truly the best 17. Graham has ability but if a back goes down he can get caught out defensively. Whereas Munster could fill lock or any backline position.

      • Roar Rookie

        November 15th 2017 @ 12:28pm
        Bunney said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report


        Muster should be a shoe-in for bench utility. Haven’t seen ANY utility from Graham that sees him earn that spot…

      • November 15th 2017 @ 12:57pm
        RM said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

        Yep. If a back goes down early in the game Graham will get caught out. Might not matter against Samoa but I’d hate to see it happen in against NZ in the semi (assuming NZ beat Fjij, of course)

      • November 15th 2017 @ 4:17pm
        Raugeee said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

        I would drop Woods (forever) replace him with Campbell-Gillard as starting prop, and bring Munster onto the bench. Other than that, I don’t have too many quibbles. I would like to see more starch in the forwards bench. Graham is great to watch but I really wish they’d picked a tough forward like Josh Jackson in the squad.

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 2:08pm
      BigJ said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

      I met Michael Morgan, James Maloney, Wade Graham, Valentine Holmes, Slater and Big Mal last night at the meet and great at Parliament house last night.

      Had a great chat to Michael Morgan, very nice fella, told him that he had made top ten cowboys list, he was pleasantly surprised that he was on the list, even though he was not convinced that he was good enough to get on the list, which is not correct he certainly is. Maloney was pretty stoked that he made the Warriors list, although I did not think that he believed me until I showed him the article. Wade Graham would you believe actually knows that sight well and has read my articles along with many others and was interested to see you I was, he said that he loved the top ten’s. Big Mal Happy that he made number one of the Canberra list, but really not surprises there. Told Billy about the site, hopefully he will tell the others about it and give the site more exposure. I showed them all how to get into the site and log in so hopefully the people being written about will have a chance to respond to people articles. So there is my bit to exposure for the roar.

      Now with Mal’s decision, I think that Munster does deserves his spot on the bench and keeping four horseman together.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 3:06pm
      canetoad said | November 15th 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

      Morgan has a better kicking game and all round game management, great hole runner, speedster cover tackles, cut out passes improving, finds something in big pressure finishes, backs himself.

      Munster, there is something elusive to munsters running game, has a better dummy and pass than Morgan, and seems to have a more elusive step.

      Both need to be found somewhere in the team.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 4:21pm
        Raugeee said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

        Munster would add such depth on the bench. I harken back to SOO 1 2014, Cronk is injured and QLD lose. If Munster is there – Morgan to half, Munster to 5/8 – sweet. If no one is injured Munster would still be a real bonus against a tiring defence.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 6:59pm
      Griffo said | November 15th 2017 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

      As the article quite rightly states, Morgan set up two tries in the second game but it could have easily been 4. He would have set up the first two Trbojevic with a kick but there was an obstruction called, may or may not have been a try without the obstruction. Billy Slater dropped a sitter that Morgan kicked to him in the in goal which definitely should have been a try. I think the most important thing for him is totally improve his combination with Cameron Smith; the timing has been a bit off at times in the first two games.

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