Rugby League: Selectors ignore judgement over players

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The Australian selectors have thumbed their noses at a court ruling that they must consider Super League players for the Halifax Centenary World Cup by including none of them in the 25-man squad announced last night, writes Dave Hadfield.

The party, who arrive on Thursday for the opener against England at Wembley on 7 October, contain all three eligible members of the Sydney Bulldogs side who won the Grand Final yesterday, plus the winger, Brett Dallas, who was absent injured.

The losers, Manly, coached by the Australian coach, Bob Fulton, have eight representatives. There are none, however, from the Canberra Raiders who have aligned themselves with Super League and five of whose players won the court judgement against the Australian Rugby League last week.

Canberra's chief executive, Kevin Neil, described the selectors' decision as "a farce and a disgrace. There are players there who wouldn't get in the Raiders' first grade side," he said. "It shows you every reason why there is another competition being formed."

Ken Arthurson, the ARL executive chairman, insisted that the selectors had considered players' claims on merit, but had also taken other considerations into account - a reference to the fact that Super League players will not be available to the ARL from next year.

For all its self-imposed limitations, the party is a strong one, including a number of previous tourists and several more who have come to the fore since Super League players dropped out of international contention.

The biggest losers could be Tonga, two of whose dual qualified players, Jim Dymock and John Hopoate, have been named by Australia.

AUSTRALIA SQUAD FOR CENTENARY WORLD CUP: W Bartrim (St George), T Brasher (Sydney City Tigers), M Carroll (Manly), M Coyne (St George), B Dallas (Sydney Bulldogs), J Dymock (Sydney B), B Fittler (Penrith, capt), D Gillespie (Manly), P Harragon (Newcastle), T Hill (Manly), J Hopoate (Manly), A Johns (Newcastle), M Johns (Newcastle), N Kosef (Manly), P McGregor (Illawarra), S Menzies (Manly), D Moore (Manly), B Moore (N Sydney), A Muir (Newcastle), R O'Davis (Newcastle), D Pay (Sydney Bulldogs), A Raper (Cronulla), J Smith (Sydney B), G Toovey (Manly), R Wishart (Illawarra).