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Embarrassing 'gaffe' in league schedule

27/04/2006 06:12:50 PM Comments (0)

He's yet to be named for his farewell Test, but rugby league star Andrew Johns has already been called to front the media in Australian colours next week - twice.

In an embarrassing gaffe, the Australian Rugby League on Wednesday night issued a Kangaroos' Anzac Test schedule which included two interview opportunities with the Newcastle halfback in the countdown to next Friday's clash against New Zealand.

Not a bad effort considering Johns is nursing an ankle injury and had not been considered for Newcastle's NRL clash against South Sydney on Sunday - the same day the Test team is named.

The mistake was removed when the Test schedule was reissued, but Australian selector Des Morris confirmed what everyone already thought - Johns only had to prove his fitness to make his representative swansong at Suncorp Stadium.

"You would assume he would get picked if he's fit," Morris told AAP.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr tried to hose down speculation arising from the Test schedule gaffe.

"He (ARL media liaison) has made the assumption he will be picked and that Joey (Johns) will be a popular media target but you can't make those assumptions," he said.

"We can never assume anyone is in regardless of who they are, it was a genuine mistake."

Johns won't be the only Australian star out of action this weekend.

Kangaroos fullback Anthony Minichiello is in danger of missing the Test after being ruled out of the Sydney Roosters' NRL match against North Queensland on Saturday with a hamstring strain.

The fullback was a late withdrawal from Tuesday's Anzac Day clash against St George Illawarra. And with the injury responding slowly to treatment, the Roosters have again decided not to risk the star back for the game in Townsville.

Meanwhile, North Queensland star half Johnathan Thurston still looks set to battle for an Australian bench spot against Roosters' Craig Wing when the NRL sides clash.

The only problem for Thurston is that no Test selectors will be attending - Queensland-based Morris and Les Geeves will be at NRL games in Sydney.

While Morris said selectors had already seen enough of the Cowboy to know he "could play", he warned that in-form players were not guaranteed Test selection.

"I have seen the Cowboys play four or five games this year," Morris said.

"That (game against Roosters) is no indication whatsoever, to be honest - it (Test team) is not going to come down to one game.

"It will come down to a good balance. It's no good having 17 of your best players if they don't gel."

In another worry for Thurston, Morris said selectors would show loyalty towards Test incumbents.

"If you have a situation where you have two guys with equal form and ability and a decision has to be made, it will come down to loyalty," he said.

"You've got to use the last Test team as a guide."

Carr said there was no point in sending a selector to the Townsville clash because the Australian Test coach and Sydney Roosters mentor Ricky Stuart was already attending.

Thurston tried not to think about the growing campaign for his Test selection.

"One game is not going to make a difference. They would already have their team in their minds," Thurston told AAP.

"I wasn't even aware of it (Test selectors' no show)."

England-based referee Ashley Klein, a former Parramatta junior who moved to Britain five years ago and was voted the Super League referee of the year in 2005, has been appointed to control the Test.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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