Family first for Meninga's Kangaroo squad
RUGBY LEAGUE: It's all about family when it comes to Mal Meninga's Kangaroos' squad.
While Aaron Woods and Josh Mansour will miss Saturday's Test against New Zealand in Perth due to their respective weddings, new father Greg Inglis was set to join the squad later this week.
Inglis has remained in Sydney for the birth of his child, expected last night, and should take the field at centre for his 35th Test.
Star halfback Cooper Cronk said part of Meninga's new values he had brought to the national outfit was the importance of family.
"Greg is planning on joining us later in the week, and I think he has every right to do so,” Cronk told media.
"Mal has made it family orientated and makes guys feel comfortable about that.
"It is a pretty important situation and I would be doing exactly as he would. He has our full support.”
Inglis may only train with the Australian side at the captain's run on Friday, but champion five-eighth Johnathan Thurston said his limited preparation should not be an issue.
"I have played a lot of football with Greggy on the left-hand side there, so we know each other's game really well,” Thurston said yesterday.
"He will rejoin us later this week and he will just slot straight in there.
"He has played big games before where he has been underprepared and really come out and done a good job for us.”
Australia trained for the first time in Perth yesterday afternoon, with the seven squad rookies welcomed into the Kangaroos' own 'family'.
Shannon Boyd, Jake Friend, Tyson Frizell, Valentine Holmes, James Maloney, Matt Moylan and Justin O'Neill are to be
given every chance to push for their Test debut, be
it in the one-off Test against the Kiwis or in the
upcoming Four Nations tournament in England.
"Yeah, there's a lot of youth that Mal's picked,” Thurston said. "He's obviously got one eye on the World Cup next year as well.
"I'm looking forward to getting to know those boys over the next few weeks and building up a really strong friendship.
"That's what these tours are about - creating a lot of good memories.”
The Kangaroos open their Four Nations campaign against Scotland at Hull on October 28.
"Everyone's aware that there are a few of us at the back end of our careers,” Thurston said. "It's about enjoying this time.
"And when you get the chance to put on the green-and-gold jersey you do it justice and you make sure you perform in it.”