Australians ignore emigres

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The Independent Online

Australia have ignored the World Cup claims of the leading National Rugby League players who have joined the mass exodus to Super League.

Australia have ignored the World Cup claims of the leading National Rugby League players who have joined the mass exodus to Super League.

The 22-man squad for the Lincoln World Cup named yesterday is dominated by players from the champions Brisbane Broncos and Newcastle Knights, who each provide four tourists. There is no place, however, for the hooker Jason Hetherington, who played in Australia's last match, the 52-0 victory over New Zealand in the Anzac Test, but has since confirmed his move from Canterbury to London Broncos.

His international colleagues, the stand-off Matthew Johns and the forward David Furner, who have joined Wigan from Newcastle and Canberra respectively, have similarly been ignored.

Brad Fittler, who led the Sydney City Roosters in Sunday's 14-6 Grand Final defeat by the Broncos, will captain the world champions, with Brisbane's Gorden Tallis named as vice-captain. Fittler and the Newcastle half-back Andrew Johns are the only survivors from the team that beat England 16-8 in the 1995 Centenary World Cup final at Wembley.

The full-back Darren Lockyer, the prop Shane Webcke, who played despite a broken arm that has not fully healed, and the winger Wendell Sailor are the other three Broncos players in the party.

Five of the squad have not played for Australia - Canberra's Jason Croker, the Newcastle duo Ben Kennedy and Adam MacDougall, Parramatta's Nathan Hindmarsh and St George-Illawarra's Trent Barrett.

Chris Anderson, who guided Melbourne to the NRL championship last season, will coach the team in the tournament that starts with Australia playing England at Twickenham on 28 October with the final at Old Trafford on 25 November.

AUSTRALIA WORLD CUP SQUAD: Barrett (St George-Illawarra), Britt (Bulldogs), Croker (Canberra), Fittler (Sydney City, capt), Fletcher (Sydney City), Gidley (Newcastle), Girdler, Gower (Penrith), Hill (Melbourne), Hindmarsh (Parramatta), A Johns (Newcastle), Kearns (Melbourne), Kennedy (Newcastle), Kimmorley (Melbourne), Lockyer (Brisbane), MacDougall (Newcastle), Rogers (Cronulla), Sailor (Brisbane), Stevens (Cronulla), Tallis (Brisbane), Vella (Parramatta), Webcke (Brisbane).

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