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Australian Kangaroos train-on squad named

A knee injury will rob Dolphins bound outside back Jake Averillo an opportunity to make his representative debut after he was named in an extended Australian train-on squad alongside the likes of Zac Lomax and J’maine Hopgood.

The trio were the surprise selections in the squad made up of the nine sides who have already been bundled out of the competition. Each player is expected to feature in the traditional PM’s XIII clash to take on PNG later this month and remain in contention to be picked in the final 20-man squad to compete in the end-of year Tri-Nations against New Zealand and Samoa.

Averillo was ruled out after suffering a knee injury in his final match for the Bulldogs last Sunday. North Queensland’s Jeremiah Nanai and Gold Coast Titans forward David Fifita were not considered because of injury.

North Queensland’s Reece Robson has been preferred to in the extended squad instead of former Australian hooker Damien Cook. Cook and Matt Burton were the big omissions.

“In Damien’s case we feel Reece Robson got his shot with the Blues and Harry Grant and Ben Hunt are the Queensland duo and from last year’s World Cup,” Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said on SEN. “That’s the pecking list. Matt is a little bit behind everyone else at the moment.

“(Hopgood) was in the training squad for the Maroons. It will be great to take him to PNG. Zac had a great finish to the year. He can play either side (at centre) or fullback.”

“I’m a fan of Jake but we got the message that he has to have an operation.”

South Sydney have four players in the squad with Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray and Campbell Graham all picked after featuring in the World Cup. Cody Walker is on the verge of a Test debut after also being selected. Graham is in serious doubt after he played the back half of the season with a sternum injury.

Meninga said Mitchell was a certainty for the final squad despite a difficult end to his season. He missed South Sydney’s must-win game against the Roosters last week because of suspension.

“I’ve had a chat to Latrell to see where he is at in terms of his life more than anything else,” Meninga said. “He has been knocked around. I’m a fan of Latrell’s. I’ve had a good conversation with him and he is keen to put the green and gold jersey on.”

Canterbury flyer Josh Addo-Carr is in the squad as is Manly duo Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic.

North Queensland have four players including Robson, Valentine Holmes, Reuben Cotter and Murray Taulagi.

Kangaroos train-on squad

South Sydney: Latrell Mitchell, Campbell Graham, Cody Walker and
Cameron Murray.
Manly:Daly Cherry-Evans, Jake Trbojevic.
Dragons: Ben Hunt, Zac Lomax
Bulldogs: Josh Addo-Carr
Eels: Reagan Campbell-Gillard, J’maine Hopgood
Cowboys: Reece Robson, Valentine Holmes, Reuben Cotter, Murray Taulagi
Dolphins: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
Titans: Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.