Mal will push for Radradra
PARRAMATTA wrecking ball Semi Radradra is in line to become only the fourth Fijian-born player to pull on the green-and-gold when new Australian coach Mal Meninga reveals his 17-man squad to play New Zealand in Newcastle next Friday night.
While Meninga has declared he won't pick any rookies for the May 6 clash, the giant Eels winger is expected to be the exception when the Kangaroos squad is named today.
Recently retired dual international Lote Tuqiri, who played nine Tests between 2001 and 2010, Petero Civoniceva, who holds the record for a forward of 45 Tests (2001-11) and Newcastle's Akuila Uate (5 Tests 2011-12), are the only Fijian nationals to play Tests for Australia.
Despite opposition from several leading players, including Australian No.6 Johnathan Thurston, who would prefer to see Radradra playing for Fiji to help the island nation, it is strongly tipped the try-scoring machine will be one of only two rookies named.
The other could be young Brisbane Broncos bull Josh McGuire, who has already played Origin for Queensland, which seems to be one of Meninga's selection requirements.
An injury that has ruled Tigers prop Aaron Woods out of the Test has allowed Kangaroo selectors to recall New South Wales captain Paul Gallen into the squad.
It is understood Gallen was not in the 17 before Woods went down injured.
Darius Boyd will fill Billy Slater's No.1 jumper with Josh Dugan and Greg Inglis in the centres.
The halves - Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston - pick themselves, as does hooker and captain Cameron Smith.
Meninga could go with an all-Queensland and Brisbane Broncos back row of Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker, although tough Bulldogs forward Josh Jackson could bust the trio up and relegate one of them to the bench.
One thing is certain, Meninga will want some pretty hard heads going into battle against a New Zealand side loaded with pace, power and aggression.
He won't pick any rookie player who may feel intimidated by the physical style of the Kiwis, who have come out on top in the last three battles with the Australians.
Should New Zealand win again, the Kiwis would equal their record of four successive wins over Australia which was set back in 1952-53.
Likely squad: Darius Boyd, Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Greg Inglis, Semi Radradra, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (c), Paul Gallen, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Michael Morgan, Josh McGuire, Josh Papali, James Tamou.