The Kangaroos coach wants to blood the next generation. Photo: AAP Image/David Clark
The Kangaroos coach wants to blood the next generation. Photo: AAP Image/David Clark

Meninga’s bold plan to blood next gen Roos

KANGAROOS coach Mal Meninga has revealed plans to bring together the NRL's hottest young stars to represent an Australian under-23 team that will take on France as part of a post-season international triple header in Wollongong.

The match will be played before the main event between Australia and New Zealand at WIN Stadium in late October that will also feature the Jillaroos.

The exciting concept would give fans a chance to watch an all-star line-up that would potentially include the likes of Kalyn Ponga, Nathan Cleary, Kotoni Staggs, Nick Cotric, Bronson Xerri, Cameron Murray, David Fifita, Payne Haas, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Scott Drinkwater among others.

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Meninga said it was aimed at developing the next generation of Kangaroos while also assisting with the overall development of the international game.

While the likes of Murray, Fifita, Haas and Latrell Mitchell will understandably also come into calculations for the open aged Kangaroos team, Meninga said he believes this concept could ultimately develop into a stand-alone event.

No doubt plenty of rugby league fans would love to see the Kangaroos take on the Junior Kangaroos.

"It is a genuine Australia A type concept," Meninga said. "It is also another way of exposing developing nations to international footy.

Fans would love to see Ponga in the green and gold. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Fans would love to see Ponga in the green and gold. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

"It is designed around helping with the developing nations and it also takes the pressure off the main team so they can share the workload."

It will also give the promising next generation of Test players a chance to prove their credentials ahead of next year's Kangaroo tour and the 2021 World Cup.

The Kangaroos' end of season representative schedule includes a Prime Minsters XIII game against Fiji and two Tests against New Zealand and Tonga. There is also an upcoming Nines tournament.

Neil Henry will coach the under-23s team but Meninga will have a heavy input in the selection process.

NRL clubs have received confirmation that the event would be going ahead and players in the selection equation in teams not in finals contention will be notified in the coming days.

Fifita and Haas have done it in Origin — now for Australia. Photo: Adam Head
Fifita and Haas have done it in Origin — now for Australia. Photo: Adam Head

Meninga said he was really excited by the concept.

"This is our emerging program for our most talented younger players to play in an international match against France," he added.

Meninga said potentially it could even lead to the Kangaroos taking on the under-23 team.

"It would be a fair contest," he said.

"I think it can be a stand-alone concept. I think people would like to go and watch that team play against teams from PNG and Samoa and Tonga and France and all those other nations who want to get up to that standard for the World Cup.

"I just think it is a great idea."

News Corp Australia

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