Kangaroos merit team: Slater pips Tedesco … again
BILLY Slater has stolen the chocolates from James Tedesco for the second time in a week after being named fullback of the Australian merit team.
Kangaroos selectors - Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley, and Darren Lockyer - have named the merit team chosen on performances during the State of Origin series.
Queensland's game three captain Slater won the race to the fullback role, beating NSW's Tedesco.
It comes just four days after Slater was controversially awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for being voted best player of the Origin series.
The same three Kangaroos selectors were the ones who voted Slater as man of the series, despite having only played two games in a losing team.
Tedesco was one of several Blues players who could have easily been given the medal. He was arguably best afield in game one, and was among the best players in games two and three as well.
Still, the NSW custodian has nabbed a spot on the bench for the merit team.
Australian coach Meninga said the Origin series will be used as a guide when selectors pick their national squad at the end of the NRL season.
"Once again, this is an important step for the national team to make, based on the pathway from state through to international level," Meninga said.
"We named our first Kangaroos Origin merit team last year and there have been a significant number of changes based on performances through this year's Origin series.
"There were some outstanding individual displays over the course of the series and it was a very challenging job to select a team based on those personal and team performances as well as individual values.
"Clearly over the course of the series NSW was the dominant team and they deserved to have a high representation in the merit team."
With Slater retiring from the representative arena, the Australian fullback job is up for grabs and Tedesco would certainly be currently leading the race.
KANGAROOS MERIT TEAM
1 Billy Slater
2 Tom Trbojevic
3 Greg Inglis
4 Latrell Mitchell
5 Josh Addo-Carr
6 Cameron Munster
7 James Maloney
8 David Klemmer
9 Damien Cook
10 Josh McGuire
11 Boyd Cordner
12 Tyson Frizell
13 Jake Trbojevic
14 James Tedesco
15 Jack de Belin
16 Josh Papalii
17 Paul Vaughan