NRL.com decides: Our Kangaroos team
Ahead of the mid-year Test between Australia and New Zealand, we at NRL.com have put our heads together to come up with our ideal Kangaroos line-up for the Test on May 1 at Suncorp Stadium.
NRL.com's Kangaroos 17
1. Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)
With Billy Slater sidelined with a shoulder injury suffered over the Easter weekend, South Sydney fullback Greg Inglis is unquestionably the man to fill the void left by the veteran custodian again, having done so at last year's Four Nations. If Slater makes an early return from injury, expect Inglis to return to the centres.
2. Josh Dugan (Dragons)
If it were up to us, we would hand Dragons fullback Josh Dugan his Test debut on the wing. One of the form players in the NRL, Dugan could benefit from injuries to the Morris brothers, Josh Mansour and Darius Boyd.
3. Michael Jennings (Roosters)
Jennings is one of the more consistent centres in the NRL and it has shown with his performances for the Roosters in 2015.
4. Dylan Walker (Rabbitohs)
Incumbent Australian centre Dylan Walker looked unlikely to return for the Trans-Tasman Test after recovering from his broken hand, but with veteran Justin Hodges on the sideline, Walker may just sneak in for another crack in the green-and-gold jumper.
5. Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs)
Another who could benefit from Australia's backline injury toll, Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston – a member of last year's Four Nations squad despite not playing – would be given his Test debut if it were up to us.
6. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
Johnathan Thurston is currently on fire for the Cowboys and being talked about as one of the greatest ever, so he will slot straight back into the team at the expense of Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans – who did an admirable job in Thurston's absence during the Four Nations.
7. Cooper Cronk (Storm)
We have decided to select every sinew in Cronk's body for this one because quite frankly there isn't a bad one in him. The incumbent halfback will be wearing the Kangaroos' No. 7 jumper until he calls it day.
8. Matt Scott (Cowboys)
One of the sorely missed players in Australia's unsuccessful Four Nations campaign last year, Scott returns to the Kangaroos with a whole lot of form on his side from his recent performances for the Cowboys.
9. Cameron Smith (Storm)
The man to lead Australia, captain Cam Smith will be the first man picked by coach Tim Sheens.
10. Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)
The Dally M Medal leader after seven rounds in the NRL, Woods almost led the Kangaroos to Four Nations glory in 2014. Expect him to be seeking revenge for the national team.
11. Greg Bird (Titans)
Hasn't been playing the best for the Titans but Tim Sheens will have no worries picking Bird, with the Titans firebrand renowned for lifting for the big stage.
12. Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
The veteran Broncos forward has produced several barnstorming performances since he was publicly criticised by master coach Wayne Bennett. Thaiday is an incumbent Kangaroo and there should be no question about whether he deserves to be picked or not. Well played Wayne. Well played.
13. Corey Parker (Broncos)
Parker should be drinking in all the 'fine wine' comparisons he can get because the man is just the gift that keeps on giving, even after 300 games in the NRL.
14. Ben Hunt (Broncos)
If you think about it, Broncos halfback Ben Hunt is actually the incumbent bench utility for the Kangaroos. Hunt may get the nod over more-fancied Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
15. Nate Myles (Titans)
While his future at the Titans may be up in the air, his selection in NRL.com's Australian team certainly isn't. There's a reason why clubs are falling over themselves to sign the veteran prop.
16. James Tamou (Cowboys)
Plenty of criticism was thrown his way earlier in the season but slowly and surely Tamou has worked his way up to the good showings we have come to enjoy from him over the years. The Cowboys enforcer's selection however was almost derailed by the popularity of injured Knights back-rower Beau Scott – who we think will play the part of 18th man in Tim Sheens's squad.
17. Beau Scott (Knights)
Paul Gallen's injury opens up a spot for the Knights' resident hard man, who has been in excellent form for Newcastle this season and represented his state and country last season.