Kangaroos to debut four against France
Four days after his brother’s World Cup campaign ended in heartache, Tom Trbojevic has celebrated his maiden Kangaroos selection as one of four debutants named in the Kangaroos side for Friday’s clash with France in Canberra.
The Kangaroos have made six changes from the team that knocked off England in the World Cup opener, with coach Mal Meninga rotating his squad.
Trbojevic, whose brother Jake will this week go under the knife to repair a torn pectoral tendon, has been selected as part of a new-look wingers combination, joining Josh Mansour in the side as Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai are rested.
"He's a great athlete with great footy sense," Meninga said of Trbojevic.
"He obviously grew up with rugby league and he plays that backyard-style rugby league. He's got great skill and vision and is a big unit. He's a danger every time he touches the football.
"And as he matures, because he knows rugby league really well too, so he will be a leader at any club he plays for and certainly a leader at this level. He's certainly a superstar of the making."
Penrith prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard will also get his first chance to wear the green and gold, partnering Jordan McLean in the front row.
"He's a big unit, he's aggressive and he's pretty quick," was Meninga's assessment.
"He's got good mobility. He's fearless, in my opinion. I watched him play in Fiji and he just threw his body on the line. No respect for his body at times. We like that type of player in our game, particularly in the front row."
Melbourne duo Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi will get their first taste of international football off the bench for the Kangaroos, joining Aaron Woods and David Klemmer as Australia’s substitutes.
Cameron Smith will go past Clive Churchill as the player with the most consecutive Test matches for Australia on Friday night, named in the starting side for what will be his 36th straight appearance in green and gold.
Mansour will fly home on Tuesday night to be with his pregnant wife, who will be induced on Wednesday, but is expected to return later in the week to take his place in the starting side.
Ben Hunt is the only member of the 24-man squad yet to play a game after having been granted the weekend off to get married. He is expected to play against Lebanon in Sydney next Saturday.
Cooper Cronk, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Dane Gagai, Valentine Holmes and Jake Trbojevic are the six omissions from the team that defeated Wayne Bennett’s England 18-4 in the tournament opener in Melbourne last Friday night.
Kangaroos: Billy Slater, Tom Trbojevic, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Josh Mansour, Michael Morgan, James Maloney, Jordan McLean, Cameron Smith, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Wade Graham, Tyson Frizell, Josh McGuire. Bench: Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi, Aaron Woods, David Klemmer. Reserves: Valentine Holmes, Matt Gillett, Dane Gagai, Boyd Cordner.