A LOOK AT THE CONTROVERSIAL OMISSIONS FROM AUSTRALIA’S FOUR NATIONS SQUAD:
The NRL and Australian commission has finally drawn a line in the sand. After being suspended for six weeks last year for abusing a referee during a junior rugby league match, Fifita writing a message of support for convicted killer Kieran Loveridge on his arm was considered the last straw. “While it was not illegal, it was in poor taste in the extreme,” NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.
After making a controversial Australian debut in May, the Parramatta winger is now facing domestic violence charges to which he intends to plead guilty. Australian management were concerned his upcoming court date could prove a sideshow during their tour of England. “While we always give our players the presumption of innocence, we don’t want him or the team to be distracted by this case,” Greenberg said.
The NSW skipper was overlooked despite being man of the match in the mid-year Test against New Zealand. Having announced he will step down from State of Origin next year, the decision to leave him out ends his representative career. “He’s worn the green and gold jersey and is in high regard but we move on,” coach Mal Meninga said.
The retiring Broncos and Queensland warhorse has played his last game of rugby league after he was denied a Kangaroos send-off. “It’s hard, we sat around the table and discussed loyalty and respect but at the end of the day, we’ve got to pick what’s best for the Kangaroos,” Meninga said.
He earned a NSW call up this year – playing five-eighth in game three – and was a part of Cronulla’s grand final win, and was unlucky to miss out. Meninga said the squad was well-covered for utility backs with the likes of Matt Moylan and Michael Morgan.
Despite a career year, the Tigers fullback couldn’t crack a spot. Meninga described him as being “very close” but was considered to be behind Darius Boyd and Moylan.
The Canberra-tackle busting machine was discussed but was overlooked, Meninga going with incumbent Josh Dugan and Maroons Origin representative Justin O’Neill. His chances were also harmed after suffering a hamstring injury in the Raiders’ preliminary final loss to Melbourne.
Like his Raiders teammate Leilua, was considered to be close but his knee injury kept him from being named.
Wasn’t considered because of a knee injury suffered in Canterbury’s finals loss to Penrith last month.
Despite being an incumbent, the Broncos prop wasn’t considered due to his drop in form, with the likes of Shannon Boyd and David Klemmer preferred.
Like Maguire, was a part of the Roos’ mid-season Test win, however wasn’t picked due to the decline in his performances this year.