The impressive Test debuts of Shannon Boyd and Valentine Holmes have given Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga some welcome Four Nations selection dilemmas.
With both Josh Mansour and Aaron Woods unavailable due to their weddings for Saturday’s 26-6 win over New Zealand in Perth, Boyd and Holmes were given their first taste of international football at nib Stadium and didn’t disappoint.
Meninga has guaranteed Woods and Mansour will play in Australia’s Four Nations opener in two weeks against Scotland to give them valuable game time.
Beyond that Meninga will have some difficult choices to make for Australia’s vital second round game against the Kiwis in Coventry on November 5.
Despite having just one training session together, Cronulla winger Holmes and his centre Greg Inglis were devastating on the Kangaroos left side.
Inglis crossed for a try double and Holmes helped himself to a try on debut.
“It was a great effort from Val, he didn’t look out of place at all out there,” Inglis told AAP.
“He has really fitted into the side. He has earned his spot after a great year and he showed what he can do out there.
“He still had some work to do to score that try but got there.
“Mal has some tough decisions to make ahead and that is one of the hardest things about being a coach.
“But then it is a good position for us to be in.”
Canberra prop Boyd was strong up front running for over 100m and helping to assert Australia’s dominance early against the massive Kiwi pack.
Boyd will likely retain his spot in the 17 for the bigger Four Nations clashes, but Meninga will have to elect who out of him and Woods starts.
However Australia can only have one left winger, either Holmes or Mansour.
Kangaroos captain Smith was delighted with Boyd’s debut.
“He did a great job for the first time the big guy, he had some great carries, Smith said.
“He will be very important for us in the Four Nations.”
Meninga knows he has some big decisions to make ahead.
“They (Woods and Mansour) will play against Scotland,” he said.
“They will need a game to help blow out the cobwebs and then after that we have to make some big choices.”
St George Illawarra starTyson Frizell also enjoyed a successful debut in the five-tries-to-one win against a gutsy but clumsy Kiwis side before a record crowd of 20,283.
Frizell came onto the bench for the Kangaroos after Josh Papalii withdrew midweek from the camp due to an ankle injury.
Boyd Cordner started for Papalii and Frizell made significant impact off the bench.
Those performances should ensure the pair are retained for the crucial clash with the Kiwis.