You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Billy Slater's withdrawal from Friday's Test against New Zealand may have caused selection issues for Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens in the past but not with Australia's current crop of backline stars.

A troublesome shoulder forced Slater to withdraw from the Australian team on Tuesday morning, although a bevy of fullback depth within the Kangaroos squad ensures they shouldn’t miss him too much.

Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis is the clear, natural choice to reprise his role as the Kangaroos' custodian having played all four games of Australia's unsuccessful 2014 Four Nations campaign at the back. 

There are other worthy candidates such as in-form Dragon Josh Dugan and Souths teammate Alex Johnston, while centres Michael Jennings and Will Chambers are also capable of slotting in at fullback if required.

However, given that Inglis has donned the Kangaroos' No.1 jersey in six out of his previous nine Tests, and has played that position at club level since 2012, the selection headache facing Sheens and his coaching staff becomes somewhat of a no-brainer.

Although refusing to confirm whether he was switching from left centre to fullback for Friday night's clash at Suncorp Stadium, the 28-year-old indicated he's ready to play at the back.

"No, not at all," said Inglis, when quizzed after training on Tuesday.

"I'd put my hand up to play anywhere in the green and gold.

"I'd be comfortable putting the No.1 on and played there during the Four Nations last year so I did get the feeling of playing fullback at the highest level.

"We'll just have to wait and see what 'Sheensy' comes up with. We've got a number of number ones in this side so we'll just wait and see that decision when the coaches get together."

The Kangaroos will have Wednesday off before their final training run on Thursday morning, giving Sheens little time to trial a different fullback other than the 33-Test veteran.

Inglis scored four tries in as many games in the No.1 jersey during last year's Four Nations and played at the back in two games during the 2013 World Cup, both against Fiji, but failed to score a try.

"Tim spoke to me about whether I'd feel comfortable going back there but it's up to the coaches to make that final decision," he said.

"It's bad news that Bill's out but he's probably doing what's right for the team.

"Billy's one of those guys that doesn’t only think of himself – if he does go out there and gets injured in the first 10 minutes then it's no good for the team."


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners