Dymock dreams of Tongan RLWC big guns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dymock dreams of Tongan RLWC big guns

By Steve Jancetic 05/08/2008 06:06:10 PM Comments (0)

Unlikely as it may be, Tongan rugby league coach Jim Dymock has dared dream about having first crack at players for the Rugby League World Cup.

Imagine a pack containing Australian Test representatives Willie Mason, Brent Kite, Anthony Tupou and Antonio Kaufusi.

Add a halves pairing of Parramatta star Feleti Mateo and Rabbitohs youngster Eddie Paea.

Then throw in a backline brimming with speed, skill and power courtesy of Michael Jennings, Willie Tonga, Parramatta rookie Tony Williams and New Zealand Warriors enigma Manu Vatuvei.

"Being selfish it would be great to have all those guys available," Dymock said.

"But I know it's not going to happen."

All were named in Tonga's preliminary 36-man squad, but that means little in international rugby league's wacky world of national qualification criteria.

That's because Mason, Kite, Tupou and Penrith starlet Jennings were also named in an extended Australian squad last week.

Pecking order is everything in international rugby league, and as far as the RLIF is concerned, it's the big guns of Australia, New Zealand and England and then the rest.

The major bodies get first choice in picking their final squads for the October-November tournament, with the minnows left to fight over the scraps.

"I haven't really settled on anything yet, I've got to wait until New Zealand and Australia pick their squads, then after that I get an idea who I can have in mine," Dymock said.

"It's a bit hard to compete with Australia and New Zealand.

"With the player contracts, they've got bonuses in them if they play for New Zealand or Australia, you can't deprive someone of a bit of cabbage. If they play for Tonga, they don't get the bonus."

But money isn't the motivating factor for someone like Jennings, who was the bolter in Australia's 46-man squad.

Growing up in the west of Sydney, Jennings dreamed of wearing the green and gold, but the influence of his Tongan heritage is strong.

He admitted to being torn between the two, though that decision is likely to be taken out of his hands given the likes of Justin Hodges, Israel Folau, Greg Inglis and Matt Cooper are also in contention for the final 24-man Kangaroos squad.

"I was just stoked to get picked in that Australian squad, I'm just not sure what I'm going to do, who I'm going to represent," Jennings said.

"It's a big choice I'd have to make, maybe I won't have to make a choice.

"I'd play for Australia, it's always been my goal for Australia ... but I also want to represent Tonga.

"Playing with all the boys, to represent your background, it's a tough one."

Samoa and Ireland also named their preliminary squads, with Samoan coach John Ackland calling up a host of the NRL brightest young stars.

St George Illawarra duo Chase Stanley and Lagi Setu were both included, as was Parramatta winger Taulima Tautai and Wests Tigers backrower Ben Te'o.

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