Even before the next batch of Kangaroos representatives have the chance to impress in the Four Nations tournament, another generation of potential representative stars will don the green and gold.
On Saturday night at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, the Junior Kangaroos will take on their New Zealand counterparts.
Junior Kangaroos coach Kelly Egan has already told his players of the opportunity in front of them – given the change occurring at the senior level.
“There are quite a number of the senior Kangaroos who have come through this pathway,” Egan said. “I’ve been telling the players this week, Josh Mansour, David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner and Josh Jackson have come through this level. Sione Mata’utia would have been playing for us had he not been selected in the Kangaroos squad. This group are in elite company.
“There are eleven debutants in the Australian squad for the Four Nations and I have no doubt that many in this group of Junior Kangaroos will have the opportunity to join them over the next few years.”
The 2014 Junior Kangaroos arrived in Auckland on Wednesday, ahead of the match, which kicks off at 7pm (NZ time), Saturday, 18 October.
“They’ve been really impressive in their approach so far,” Egan said. “We’ve tried to emulate an NRL environment as much as possible. We’ve got a high-performance staff looking after them, ensuring their prehab, rehab and recovery are all monitored. We’ve worked very hard.
“They’re all very talented players and I’m excited to be able to work with them.”
Egan also named Souths hooker Cameron McInnes as captain for the match.
“He has been professional in everything that he has done,” Egan said.
On Monday night in Wollongong, Damien Thomlinson, the Australian veteran of the war in Afghanistan, delivered an address to the next generation of Kangaroos.
The Junior Kangaroos team to play the Junior Kiwis at 7pm (NZ time) at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, is as follows: Clint Gutherson (Sea Eagles), Valentine Holmes (Sharks), Jack Bird (Dragons), Euan Aitken (Dragons), Jake Mamo (Knights), Drew Hutchison (Dragons), Ryan Matterson (Eels), Matthew Lodge (Wests Tigers), Cameron McInnes (c) (Rabbitohs), Joe Ofahengaue (Broncos), Patrick Mago (Raiders), Tevita Pangai (Raiders), Kelepi Tanginoa (Eels), Brett Greinke (Broncos), Willis Meehan (Roosters), Cameron Munster (Storm), Andy Saunders (Panthers), Jackson Hastings (Roosters).
The match will be televised live on Sky Sport 2 in New Zealand.
Fox Sports will broadcast the match live in Australia via the red button on FOX SPORTS 2 at 5pm EDT. Fox Sports will also show a full replay airing at 8pm EDT on October 18 on FOX SPORTS 3.