A more streamlined pathway for emerging NRL stars moving into the Australia national team will be on show in the upcoming World Nines tournament.
In announcing the Australia World Nines and Oceania Cup Test squads on Monday morning, Australia coach Mal Meninga gave an insight into how the crop of bolters in the Nines squad paved the way for the next generation of Test stars to be phased in.
Meninga, who has extended his national coaching agreement through to the end of the 2021 World Cup, said the likes of Kalyn Ponga and David Fifita were on the radar for higher honours.
"The whole idea of the under-23 concept is both the national squad and under-23 squad will train together with a view to setting down a program over the next couple of years," he said.
"Payne Haas has obviously made his way into the top squad this time around but guys like David Fifita, Kalyn Ponga, all those young superstars at the moment have got a great opportunity to come into the top squad over the next couple of years."
Emerging stars like Titans duo AJ Brimson and Jai Arrow plus in-form Eels Mitch Moses, Nathan Brown and Clint Gutherson headline the exciting Nines squad.
Manly winger Reuben Garrick, experienced Souths playmaker Cody Walker, young Storm pair Curtis Scott and Ryan Papenhuyzen plus Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt round out the list of names with no Test experience who were not named in the Oceania squad.
Australia Nines squad
- Josh Addo-Carr, Melbourne Storm
- Jai Arrow, Gold Coast Titans
- AJ Brimson, Gold Coast Titans
- Nathan Brown, Parramatta Eels
- Kyle Feldt, North Queensland Cowboys
- David Fifita, Brisbane Broncos
- Tyson Frizell, St George Illawarra Dragons
- Reuben Garrick, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
- Wade Graham, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
- Clint Gutherson, Parramatta Eels
- Ben Hunt, St George Illawarra Dragons
- Mitchell Moses, Parramatta Eels
- Ryan Papenhuyzen, Melbourne Storm
- Kalyn Ponga, Newcastle Knights
- Curtis Scott, Melbourne Storm
- Cody Walker, South Sydney Rabbitohs