MICHAEL Morgan has won the race for the five-eighth spot after being named in a full-strength Kangaroos side to play Samoa on Friday night.
Australian coach Mal Meninga has named what he believes is his strongest side for the Kangaroos quarter-finals match. Sixteen players who featured in the opening match against England have been picked with only the injured Jake Trbojevic missing out.
Josh McGuire will start at lock and Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been named on the interchange bench.
Morgan has beat out James Maloney and Cameron Munster to partner Cooper Cronk in the halves for the match in Darwin.
Wade Graham remains as the bench utility despite a challenge from Munster.
– Michael Carayannis
Check out all the teams for the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals as they are announced.
AUSTRALIA v SAMOA
8.30pm AEDT Friday at TIO Stadium, Darwin
Australia: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Dane Gagai, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Josh Dugan, 5. Valentine Holmes, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. David Klemmer, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Matt Gillet, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. Wade Graham, 15. Tyson Frizell, 16. Jordan McLean, 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
18. Felise Kaufusi, 19. Cameron Munster, 20. James Maloney, 21. Ben Hunt.
Samoa: 1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Matthew Wright 3. Ricky Leutele 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Timoteo Lafai 6. Jarome Luai 7. Ben Roberts 8. Junior Paulo 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Herman Ese’ese 11. Josh Papalii 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Leeson Ah Mau INTERCHANGE 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Suaia Matagi 17. Joseph Paul RESERVES 18. Zane Musgrove 19. Frank Winterstein 20. Pita Godinet 21. Ken Maumalo
Ben Roberts has been recalled and will start at halfback ahead of Fa’amanu Brown who has been named on the bench.
Frank Pritchard will start in the backrow after being rested against Scotland. Leeson Ah Mau has been promoted into the starting side at lock with Bunty Afoa dropping to the bench.
TONGA v LEBANON
3pm AEDT Saturday at AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Tonga: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. David Fusitua 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Sione Katoa 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Sika Manu 13. Jason Taumalolo INTERCHANGE 14. Siliva Havili 15. Sam Moa 16. Tevita Pangai Junior 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila 18. Ukuma Ta’ai 19. Joe Ofahengaue 20. Mahe Fonua 21. Samisoni Langi
After their historic win over New Zealand, Tonga have opted to make only one change with Tevita Pangai Junior replacing Peni Terepo on the bench.
Lebanon: 1. Anthony Layoun 2. Travis Robinson 3. James Elias 4. Adam Doueihi 5. Abbas Miski 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Robbie Farah 8. Tim Mannah 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Alex Twal 11. Nick Kassis 12. Ahmad Ellaz 13. Jamie Clark 14. Mitchell Mamary 15. Ray Moujalli 16. Elias Sukkar 17. Jason Wehbe 18. Andrew Kazzi 19. Chris Saab 20. Bilal Maarbani
Brad Fittler has named a 20-man squad for Lebanon’s first ever quarterfinals match. Travis Robinson, Nick Kassis and Elias Sukkar return after being rested against the Kangaroos.
Andrew Kazzi, Chris Saab and Bilal Maarbani have been named on the extended bench.
Robbie Farah, Mitchell Moses and Michael Lichaa are all carrying niggling injuries but have been named to play.
NEW ZEALAND v FIJI
5.30pm AEDT Saturday at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
New Zealand: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Dean Whare 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Martin Taupau 9. Danny Levi 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 11. Simon Mannering 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Adam Blair 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Russell Packer 16. Isaac Liu 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Kenny Browmich 19. Jason Nightingale 20. Peta Hiku 21. Addin Fonua-Blake
Coach David Kidwell has reacted to last week’s shock loss to Tonga by demoting Brisbane star Kodi Nikorima to the bench for this week’s match against Fiji.
Nikorima was targeted by the gargantuan Tongans and he’s been replaced by North Queensland five-eighth Te Maire Martin.
Thomas Leuluai has been dropped from the side completely with Newcastle rake Danny Levi replacing him at dummy half.
There are no other changes for the Kiwis, who will face either Australia or Samoa should they down the Bati.
Fiji: 1. Kevin Naiqama 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Taane Milne 4. Akuila Uate 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Jarryd Hayne 7. Henry Raiwalui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Eloni Vunakece 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Brayden Wiliame 13. Tui Kamikamica INTERCHANGE 14. Joe Lovodua 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Junior Roqica 17. Ben Nakubuwai RESERVES 18. James Storer 19. Salesi Faingaa 20. Sitiveni Moceidreke 21. Pio Sokobalavu
Bati coach Mick Potter has named a unchanged 17 to the team which earned a comprehensive win against Italy in Canberra last Friday.
ENGLAND v PAPUA NEW GUINEA
4pm AEDT Sunday at AAMI Park, Melbourne
England: To come
PNG: To come