Kangaroos selectors wait for Folau call - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos selectors wait for Folau call

By Steve Jancetic and Ben Horne 01/05/2010 04:23:16 PM Comments (0)

With Israel Folau's footballing future up in the air, Kangaroos selectors are waiting to hear from the ARL whether the Brisbane star will be available for Friday's Test against New Zealand.

Folau, being chased by cashed up franchises from both rugby union and AFL, effectively became a free agent on Friday when he failed to exercise an option for a further two years with the Broncos.

And while the NRL sweats over the possibility of losing one of its stars, Kangaroos chairman of selectors Bob McCarthy says he and his panel are yet to be given an indication from the ARL if Folau will be eligible to take on the Kiwis in Melbourne.

The Australian team will be named on Sunday afternoon.

"We won't get (any indication) until tomorrow," McCarthy told AAP on Saturday of Folau's availability.

"Before we pick the side we find out who's in and who's out."

With the possibility that Folau could still shun rival codes and remain in the NRL, the ARL this week said it had no policy on picking players whose future is undecided.

But with new Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels believed to be Folau's likely destination, the 21-year-old will likely miss out on a ninth Test cap as selectors pick the side for the clash at AAMI Park with an eye to the future.

Complicating matters, the potential unavailability of Folau could leave selectors with a dearth of experienced options in the centres, with Greg Inglis no certainty due to an ongoing ankle injury.

Incumbent Justin Hodges (Achilles tendon) and Canterbury try-scoring machine Josh Morris (eye socket) are already out, meaning Penrith speedster Michael Jennings will come firmly into reckoning.

Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne has done enough to hold off the challenge from dual international Lote Tuqiri, but the battle for spots in the pack is far less clear-cut, particularly with incumbent prop Ben Hannant (knee) sidelined and concerns over Brett White's limited game time.

"The main ones will be front row and obviously what happens with the issue of whether Inglis doesn't play or he's still struggling," Australian coach Tim Sheens said.

"In the front row area where we've lost Benny Hannant and White's not playing this week because of suspension, he's only had one game back so some of last year's squad aren't well prepared.

"Given we were lucky to get the Kiwis in the first game (of last year's end of season Four Nations) in the last minute for a draw, we can't afford to be underdone."

Petero Civoniceva is a certainty for one front-row position, with White, Michael Weyman, Josh Perry and Sam Thaiday in the contention to be his partner.

In the backrow, the trio from last year's Four Nations final win of Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen and Nathan Hindmarsh are under pressure from the likes of Ben Creagh, Nate Myles and Manly pair Glen Stewart and Anthony Watmough.

Possible squad: Billy Slater, Brett Morris, Greg Inglis, Michael Jennings, Jarryd Hayne, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Petero Civoniceva, Cameron Smith, Michael Weyman, Anthony Watmough, Ben Creagh, Luke Lewis. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen, Brett White.

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