2020 has seen NRL clubs blood a huge number of young guys. This is the next generation of rugby league in Australia – guys born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
NSW’s State of Origin victory has led to dominance in a Kangaroos merit team picked by Australian selectors from performances in the interstate series.
There are 11 Blues in the 17-man squad with Canberra’s Jack Wighton, Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr, St George Illawarra’s Paul Vaughan and South Sydney’s Cameron Murray those picked who are yet to debut for the Kangaroos.
“This squad recognises the form of the Origin players in the series, and provides an important acknowledgement of where they stand in the Kangaroos reckoning,” Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said.
Included in the squad are NSW players David Klemmer and Blake Ferguson as well as Queensland’s Josh McGuire.
McGuire and Klemmer clashed in the tunnel at halftime of Wednesday’s game three in Sydney after the controversial Maroons lock allegedly verbally abused Ferguson.
The NSW winger then gave McGuire a spray after the Blues’ dramatic win at ANZ Stadium.
Meninga said the Origin merit team did not necessarily reflect who he’d be picking for this year’s Tests against New Zealand and Tonga in October and November.
“If a squad was selected for a Test match today it might contain other players based on our overall selection policy,” Meninga said.
“While the selection in the merit squad will form part of the criteria for our end-of-year matches, the selectors will also look at other aspects, including club form, particularly in the Finals Series and the Grand Final, as well as the values and behaviours that we are always looking for.”
To be eligible for selection in the Origin merit squad players must have played two out of three matches in the series and could be selected out of the positions they played in for their states.
2019 Kangaroos Origin merit team
James Tedesco, Blake Ferguson, Jack Wighton, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Josh Papalii, Boyd Cordner, Felise Kaufusi, Jake Trbojevic. Bench: Ben Hunt, Paul Vaughan, Cameron Murray, Josh McGuire.