Sea Eagles swoops into league Test squad - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sea Eagles swoops into league Test squad

07/10/2008 08:35:49 PM Comments (0)

Manly's stunning grand final triumph has forced the hand of Australian selectors with four Sea Eagles debutants amongst seven new faces in the Kangaroos World Cup squad.

The meteoric rise of rookie Manly winger David Williams matched the Sea Eagles celebrations continuing unabated on Tuesday, the 22 year-old the biggest bolter in the 24-man squad.

A bleary-eyed Williams, barely recognisable as he fronted the media on Tuesday sans beard - courtesy of a Michael Robertson shearing session on Monday night - said he could hardly believe his selection.

"I don't think anything can describe it at the moment, it's been an outstanding year and it's been capped off by this," Williams said.

"I still don't think it's hit me yet.

"I haven't got a grasp on the grand final let alone making the Test squad, I'm sure that will come later in the week.

"I set a realistic goal to play three first grade games, I thought that was a good goal considering (Manly fullback) Brett Stewart would be out for State of Origin duties."

Instead Williams could find himself lining up alongside Stewart in the green and gold, those two joining Manly teammates Brent Kite, Glenn Stewart, Josh Perry and Anthony Watmough in winning selection, the latter three all earning their first call-up to the green and gold.

The Stewarts could become the first brothers to play Test football since Andrew and Matthew Johns, who played together when Australian won the 1995 World Cup.

"It's a great reward for a very, very good football team," Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart said of the six Sea Eagles in the squad.

"They showed on Sunday evening that they warranted their selections."

The other uncapped faces in the squad to be

captained by Darren Lockyer are Canberra's Joel Monaghan and Terry Campese and Gold Coast's Anthony Laffranchi.

While there were plenty of smiles as the four Manly new caps posed for pictures on Tuesday, there was some disbelief amongst the group that they weren't joined by skipper Matt Orford, who was again overlooked with selectors going with Johnathan Thurston and Scott Prince as the halfback options.

"The form he's had this year, I don't know what else he's got to do," Glenn Stewart said.

"Dally M player of the year and that, I'm a bit surprised."

Orford was one of several controversial omissions, along with Brisbane fullback Karmichael Hunt, Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah and Cronulla-bound backrower Anthony Tupou.

"We couldn't pick Karmichael Hunt and have three fullbacks ... I'm a big fan of Karmichael Hunt but realistically it wouldn't be the right thing to do by the players to bring three fullbacks into his squad of 24 because then we would have been short in another area," Stuart

said.

"Matt Orford, certainly his form in the grand final and form in the back end of the season has been his best football.

"He's a guy I've seen a huge improvement in on the back end of the season in regards to him handling his critics - and one of those (criticisms) was performing under pressure in a big game, and he certainly showed he could do that on Sunday afternoon."

But it wasn't enough to earn Orford a belated representative call-up.

Watmough's recall comes three years after he played his one and only game for NSW, while Perry's selection ends an even longer representative exile with his one and only Origin match coming in 2003.

"You can never give up hope," Watmough said.

"The thoughts creep in there a little bit but you've just got to push them out, work that little bit harder."

Medicals will be held on Thursday with Brisbane centre Justin Hodges in doubt with a shoulder injury.

"Hodgo is having some scans tomorrow to determine if it's minor surgery or a reconstruction or if there's nothing there," Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen said.

"If it's a reconstruction you would want it done straight away because that's about six months which could keep him out until June if he plays the World Cup."

The Australian team will come into camp in Sydney on October 18 with their opening match of the tournament against New Zealand at the Sydney Football Stadium on October 26.

Terry Campese, Petero Civoniceva, Michael Crocker, Craig Fitzgibbon, Israel Folau, Paul Gallen, Kurt Gidley, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Brent Kite, Anthony Laffranchi, Darren Lockyer (capt), Joel Monaghan, Josh Perry, Steve Price, Scott Prince, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Anthony Watmough, David Williams.

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