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Kangaroos Form Team: Injuries open door for recalls and new faces

Injuries have prompted a slight reshuffle in the latest monthly Kangaroos Form Team chosen by NRL.com experts Jamie Soward, Brett Kimmorley and Steve Renouf.

Every month this season, for a series presented by Gallagher, the retired greats will each select a 17-man Kangaroos squad with a composite team then assembled based on their most popular picks.

Incumbency and career achievements weren't part of the selection criteria, so the trio's teams aren't necessarily a reflection of who they believe should make Australia's next official side.

Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary has owned the No.7 jersey since the form team concept started, but having not played in the past month due to a shoulder injury, the Blues star has dropped out.

That has allowed Maroons halves Cameron Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans to reunite in the experts' composite outfit.

With Penrith winger Brian To'o suffering an ankle injury in round 19, he was replaced by South Sydney's Dane Gagai. Kimmorley, however, deemed To'o had done enough to retain his place.

Elsewhere, Roosters lock Victor Radley was a popular selection in the run-on side after a sensational return from suspension in July.

The hard-hitting larrikin is yet to make his Ampol State of Origin or Test debut but Renouf and Kimmorley think he can match it with the best.

The halves aside, the back line has a distinct NSW flavour with fullback James Tedesco, winger Josh Addo-Carr and centres Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic continuing their outstanding Origin form.

Here's who the experts chose individually

Jamie Soward

The 215-game former NRL playmaker has been mightily impressed with James Tedesco's leadership at the injury-stricken Roosters.

"He continues to really show he's one of the best players in the world. I think it's probably been one of his best seasons because of the adversity he's had to go through," Soward said.

Meanwhile, the 2010 premiership winner believes Daly Cherry-Evans is returning to his peak at Manly after a tough Origin series.

"Daly after game three has come out refreshed and started to get back into the Daly Cherry-Evans that was going neck-and-neck with Cleary for [the title of] the best half in the world," he said.

Soward crowned Payne Haas "the best prop in the world" and said Daniel Saifiti edged out Penrith's James Fisher-Harris.

On the flanks, he said: "I had to go with two guys who are in form.

"Josh Addo-Carr's the best winger in the world and then you look at Dane Gagai. After Origin, I think he had to come out and prove a point and he's been very solid for South Sydney."

Brett Kimmorley

The 1999 Clive Churchill Medallist has also been in awe of Tedesco, labelling him a "ball-playing freak, running for lots of metres".

With Munster and Cherry-Evans combining in the halves, Kimmorley believes they would put any defence in two minds.

"The first thing with both of those guys is they're great runners of the ball. I think that makes them a really dangerous ball-player when everything thinks they're good runners of the ball," he said.

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"Young kids - think run before you think ball-play."

Kimmorley described Radley as a "mobile, ball-playing lock" who "plays extremely tough", pipping a strong field to slot into the pack.

"We've got great quality in jersey 13s at the moment with Isaah Yeo, Jake Trbojevic, Cam Murray and Victor Radley. They're all turning the jersey 13 position into a ball-playing position," he said.

He opted for Melbourne's Nicho Hynes on the bench for versatility.

Steve Renouf

The champion centre couldn't ignore the hot streak of Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker, who tallied nine try assists in July alone.

"He's been in this rich vein of footy. His form's been phenomenal, just some of the freakish stuff he's doing," Renouf said.

"That's why he really deserves to be there at No.6."

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He agrees with the comparisons Walker has drawn to another Indigenous playmaker, Manly legend Cliff Lyons.

"[Walker] just has the freakish nature of getting balls to people. You ask someone like Beaver Menzies, he benefitted off guys like Cliffy putting him into holes," Renouf added.

"Walker does the same. He's such a creative player and he plays off the cuff sometimes. Very instinctive and knows what he's doing."

Renouf has liked Radley's toughness and his ability to "bounce back" and "change a few things" after being suspended.

"He's one you'd give a go because you know he's not going to let you down," the Queensland and Australian representative said.

And Renouf's backline is again dominated by the Blues.

"I still think those players are on top. When you look at the backs, for instance, with Tedesco, Latrell and Turbo - they had blinders again over the last few weeks. And Addo-Carr's been great," he said.

"[But] I think Dane Gagai deserves a shot. He's come along quite well."

 

 

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