A dozen players, including incumbents Billy Slater, Brett Morris and Matt Gillett, have withdrawn from Australia’s Four Nations train-on squad.
Incumbents Billy Slater, Brett Morris and Matt Gillett have joined a long list of high-profile withdrawals from Australia’s Four Nations rugby league squad.
Twelve players have ruled themselves unavailable for team selection for the tournament, which kicks off in Brisbane on October 25, due to injury.
Justin Hodges, Josh Dugan, Trent Merrin, Will Hopoate and Andrew Fifita are among the other big-name outs, with selectors adding nine players to the train-on outfit.
St George Illawarra pair Morris and Merrin and Melbourne Storm’s Slater are all due to have shoulder surgery this week to correct injuries suffered during this year’s State of Origin series.
Morris is expected to be sidelined for up to four months, with Merrin out for three.
Slater’s surgery to repair his right AC joint should also keep the Test fullback out for three months.
“On the advice of the medical team it was decided surgery was required now so Slater can commence the three month rehabilitation phase and be ready for the start of Storm’s pre-season,” the Storm said in a statement.
Brisbane trio Gillett (shoulder), Hodges (knee) and Dale Copley (shoulder) are also scheduled to go under the knife in the coming days, as is Cronulla’s Michael Gordon (ankle).
The Kangaroos were already missing Paul Gallen, Nate Myles and Darius Boyd.
Slater’s withdrawal will open the door for Jarryd Hayne or Greg Inglis to fill the green and gold No.1 jersey, with strong speculation Slater could have played his last Test.
Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou and Matt Scott are among five North Queensland players named to join the squad after being knocked out of the NRL finals series.
Selectors have also called in four Manly stars: including Anthony Watmough, Brett Stewart, Daly Cherry-Evans and Brenton Lawrence.
OUTS: Dale Copley (Broncos), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Matt Gillett (Broncos), Brett Morris (Dragons), Josh Dugan (Dragons), Trent Merrin (Dragons), Will Hopoate (Eels), Andrew Fifita (Sharks), Michael Gordon (Sharks), Billy Slater (Storm), Aidan Sezer (Titans) and Dave Taylor (Titans).
UPDATED KANGAROOS TRAIN-ON SQUAD: Ben Hunt, Corey Parker, Josh McGuire, Sam Thaiday, Gavin Cooper, James Tamou, Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Michael Morgan, Jarryd Hayne, Beau Scott, Kurt Gidley, Willie Mason, Anthony Milford, Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker, Josh Papalii, Anthony Watmough, Brenton Lawrence, Brett Stewart, Daly Cherry-Evans, Luke Lewis, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, William Chambers, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Greg Bird, Jacob Lillyman.