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Kangaroos Form Team of the Month: March

With the Kangaroos heading to England in October to try and defend their World Cup crown, players across the NRL will be out to stake their claims for a berth in Mal Meninga's Kangaroos squad.

Form at NRL level will determine who makes the Origin sides mid-season and those NSW and Queensland players will have the inside running for a green and gold jersey.

Every month this season, for a series presented by Gallagher, retired greats Steve Renouf, Josh Morris and Michael Morgan will select a 17-man Australian squad with a composite team then assembled based on their most popular picks.

Renouf played 11 Tests for his country and scored Australia's only try in the 1992 World Cup final triumph over England at Wembley while Morgan was part of the Kangaroos side that beat England 6-0 in Brisbane in the 2017 World Cup final.

Morris played six Tests for Australia and was part of Australia's successful 2013 World Cup campaign.

There will be a final team announced at the end of the season.

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

Kangaroos Form Team of the Month: March

With multiple selections, Dylan Edwards gets the nod at fullback with Daniel Tupou and Phillip Sami on the wing. Dane Gagai — who has enjoyed a strong start to the year since his return to Newcastle — partners Stephen Crichton in the centres, while Panthers playmaker Jarome Luai partners Nicho Hynes in the halves.

Hynes is a handful of players who each expert selected following his bright start to life under coach Craig Fitzgibbon at the Sharks.

Up front, it's a contested forward pack with several players somewhat shoehorned in slightly out of position to find their way into the side.

Payne Haas was an unanimous selection at prop, with Eels big man Junior Paulo partnering him in the middle. Harry Grant gets the nod at hooker despite missing time, such was his form when healthy, while Tyson Frizell and Jai Arrow edge their way into the back row. Current Dally M leader Isaah Yeo is the lock.

With the depth of talent available, especially at lock forward, the likes of Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Patrick Carrigan and Reagan Campbell-Gillard find themselves on the bench to round out a strong 17.

Here's who the experts chose individually.

Josh Morris' Kangaroos Form Team

1. Dylan Edwards 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Stephen Crichton 4. Dane Gagai 5. Philip Sami 6. Cameron Munster 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Payne Haas 9. Harry Grant 10. Junior Paulo 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jai Arrow 13. Isaah Yeo (Interchange: 14 Cameron Murray 15. Jack Wighton 16. Damien Cook 17. Patrick Carrigan)

All the talk might have been Tedesco against Trbojevic, but Morris believes everyone forgot about the man who had just won a premiership at fullback, and started the year in fine style with Nathan Cleary sidelined.

The consistent Daniel Tupou and Gold Coast flyer Phillip Sami earn selection on the wing while Stephen Crichton and Dane Gagai are hard to go past at centre.  

Gagai's real finish

Cameron Munster edges a number of contenders at five-eighth, partnering Nicho Hynes in the halves, while Storm hooker Harry Grant just gets the edge at number nine with Rabbitohs rake Damien Cook on the bench. 

Payne Haas, Junior Paulo, Tyson Frizell, Jai Arrow and Isaah Yeo round out a strong forward pack, with in-form Rabbitohs skipper Cameron Murray unlucky to not earn a starting spot with selection on the bench. He joins Jack Wighton — who has started the year in strong form after his 200th game in Round 1 — and Broncos leader Patrick Carrigan in rounding out the 17-man side.

Wighton shines in his 200th

Michael Morgan's Kangaroos Form Team

1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Dane Gagai 4. Izack Tago 5. Stephen Crichton 6. Jake Clifford 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Payne Haas 9. Harry Grant 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Cameron Murray 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Isaah Yeo (Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Jeremiah Nanai 16. Josh Curran 17. Jai Arrow)

While Morgan has chosen a few players out of position, he believes their form in the opening few rounds demands he finds a spot for them in the side.

Crichton has made a powerful start to the season at centre for the Panthers but he won a premiership last year playing on the wing. His fellow centre partner Izack Tago also finds his way into the side, with Gagai, Tupou and Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen rounding out a strong back five.

Morgan too believes Hynes has started the year in fine form, while Newcastle's Jake Clifford has also impressed — finding his way to five-eighth in Morgan's team.

With Yeo a certainty in the lock position, Murray takes a second row spot alongside Tyson Frizell, who has enjoyed a very strong start to the season, with props James Fisher-Harris and Payne Haas leading the team up front.

Nanai claims a hat-trick

In a hot field, Morgan opted for the versatility of Kurt Mann on the bench — who has shown great potential in his new role at Newcastle — while Cowboys young gun Jeremiah Nanai also Warriors workhorse Josh Curran on the interchange list.

Jai Arrow rounds out the side after an assertive start to 2022.

Steve Renouf's Kangaroos Form Team

1. James Tedesco 2. Dylan Edwards 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Tom Trbojevic 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Jarome Luai 7. Tom Dearden 8. Payne Haas 9. Damien Cook 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Isaah Yeo 12. Patrick Carrigan 13. Cameron Murray (Interchange: 14. Nicho Hynes 15. David Fifita 16. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 17. AJ Brimson)

Similar to Morris, Renouf believes its hard to leave Dylan Edwards out of the side given his strong start to the year — slotting him on the wing with James Tedesco at the back. Valentine Holmes' man-of-the-match showing against the Broncos was the latest in a run of good form for the Queensland Origin hopeful, with Renouf opting to run with the ever-dangerous Tom Trbojevic as the other centre.

Jarome Luai has stepped up in Cleary's absence and gets the nod at six in Renouf's side, with Tom Dearden's good form for the top-four Cowboys seeing him selected.

Spectacular Valentine try

Up front, Haas again leads the way with his third selection at prop, but this time with Titans big man Moeaki Fotuaika, while the likes of Yeo, Carrigan, Murray and Cook all also find their way into Renouf's forward pack.

It's a dynamic bench selected with Sharks new recruit Nicho Hynes joining Titans trio Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, David Fifita and AJ Brimson, who has performed strongly since returning from injury in Round 2.

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.

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