For the upcoming Pacific Championships, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has decided to bring in notable centre player Valentin Holmes to his squad. This choice was made in spite of the fact that due to a one-match ban, Holmes will not be able to participate in Australia’s initial match against Samoa.
This suspension comes as a repercussion of a post-season incident concerning Holmes. It involved his association with a suspicious photo and a bag of unidentified white substances. The team has also brought in winger, Josh Addo-Carr, who is currently under an NRL investigation following a recent brawl.
Upon the confirmation of his suspension by the NRL authorities which resulted in a hefty $25,000 fine, Holmes expressed his regret over his actions stating them to be “immature and irresponsible”. He acknowledged the negative impact of his decisions on his club and family and pledged his determination towards rebuilding their trust.
Rugby player Holmes now faces monetary consequences amounting to a huge $100,000 in fines. This sum includes a $50,000 club fine, divided into a payable $50,000 immediate fine and a suspended fine of similar value. The initial $25,000 penalty by the NRL is inclusive in the former sum.
Despite Holmes’ lack of participation in the October 14 face-off with Samoa in Townsville, coach Meninga defended his decisions to include the player in the squad. He justified his choices stating that the mere inclusion of Holmes within the squad and training environment would result in a positive impact for him and the rest of the team.
Addo-Carr found himself in a brawl during the Koori Knockout competition. Although he was not charged in its aftermath, The Bulldogs star now must face the repercussions of the incident that has now been directed to NSW Rugby League and event organizers for further investigation by the NRL.
In other selections, Nathan Cleary of Clive Churchill Medal fame has been selected for the team. He will be joined by his premiership teammates Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin along with a total of eight players from the recent Sunday’s NRL Grand Final.
However, the fullback selection saw no room for three-time premiership victor Dylan Edwards, due to the selectors’ unanimous decision to retain James Tedesco as both the captain and the first-choice custodian. Consequently, this selection also excluded Broncos’ electrifying fullback Reece Walsh and Dally M Medallist Kalyn Ponga.
Players such as Kotoni Staggs, Selwyn Cobbo, and Tom Flegler from the Broncos’ team are set to make their debut appearances for the Kangaroos. They will be joined by their fellow Brisbane teammates Payne Haas and Pat Carrigan. The team will also include Lindsay Collins from Roosters and South Sydney’s Cameron Murray. Dolphins’ player Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow also secured a place in the back line, thanks to his previous performances at the State of Origin and versatile playing abilities.
Unfortunately, South Sydney refused the player selection of Latrell Mitchell due to a finger injury. Much to his surprise, coach Meninga discovered that Mitchell had participated in Koori Knockout the previous weekend. Mitchell, a proud First Nations person, will now be anticipated to return next season having a productive off-season.
The first match of Kangaroos, against Samoa, will take place in Townsville, followed by the match with New Zealand in Melbourne on October 28. The tournament final is scheduled to be held in Hamilton, November 4.
Final Kangaroos squad: Josh Addo-Carr, Pat Carrigan, Daly Cherry-Evans, Nathan Cleary, Selwyn Cobbo, Lindsay Collins, Reuben Cotter, Tino Fa‘asuamaleaui, Tom Flegler, Harry Grant, Payne Haas, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Liam Martin, Cameron Munster, Cameron Murray, Kotoni Staggs, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, James Tedesco, Jake Trbojevic, Isaah Yeo.