Previews, squad lists, schedule, young guns to look out for, Australian Kangaroos, New Zealand Kiwis, Samoa, Tonga, news, results, warm-up matches

The World Cup is only five days away and every rugby league nation is preparing to topple the Kangaroos off their throne.

France has employed Roosters coach Trent Robinson to pair head coach Laurent Frayssinous while both Tonga and Samoa have been boosted by a number of stars snubbing Australia.

A standalone NRL gun will feature for Scotland, while Jamaica will compete in their first ever World Cup.

Read below for foxsports.com.au’s full breakdown of each World Cup team!

Fittler’s 105kg son crushes QLD bodies | 00:55

AUSTRALIA

World ranking: 4

Best result: Winners (1957, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1985-88, 1989-92, 1995, 2000, 2013, 2017)

Coach: Mal Meninga

Analysis: Australia has won eight of the past nine World Cups and despite several high-profile defections, the Kangaroos once again start the tournament red-hot favourites. A host of premiership-winning Panthers stars opted to play for Samoa alongside Roosters flyer Joseph Suaalii. Coach Mal Meninga is also without superstar prop Payne Haas who pulled out for personal reasons. It means there are 13 new names in the squad, including breakout Cowboys stars Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai and Murray Taulagi. Debate is still raging over who will start at halfback – incumbent Daly Cherry-Evans or arguably the most complete player in the game Nathan Cleary. Australia are expected to comfortably top Group B – which includes Fiji, Scotland and Italy – and then meet New Zealand in a huge semi-final showdown.

Player to watch: Patrick Carrigan

The Broncos lock was enjoying the best season of his budding career before he was handed a four-game ban for an ugly hip-drop tackle in Round 20. Carrigan only played one more game after the incident so expect this year’s Wally Lewis Medallist to come out breathing fire in England.

Title odds: $1.53

Pool B odds: $1.01

NEW ZEALAND

World ranking: 1

Best result: Winners (2008)

Coach: Michael Maguire

Analysis: The Kiwis boast one of the best sides at the tournament and destroyed Super League grand finalists Leeds 74-0 in a ruthless warm-up match. Coach Michael Maguire has named six NRL grand finalists including Panthers stars James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota, Scott Sorensen and Parramatta’s Dylan Brown, Isaiah Papali’i and Marata Niukore. There’s no shortage of experience either with veterans Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kenny Bromwich and brother Jesse Bromwich all set to play in their final World Cup. Nelson Asofa-Solomona will lead the pack and the star-studded backline includes Joey Manu, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Jahrome Hughes. New Zealand are all but certainties to finish on top of Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland in Group C and should meet Australia in the semi-finals.

Player to watch: Dylan Brown

The electric Eels five-eighth has the flair to blow games open and his confident approach suits the Kiwis’ style of play. If the veteran pack can get rolling forward then Brown will do the rest with a host of talent to work with outside him.

Title odds: $4.33 (as per Sportsbet on October 10)

Pool C odds: $1.01 (as per Sportsbet on October 10)

TONGA

World ranking: 2

Best result: Semi finals (2017)

Coach: Kristian Woolf

Analysis: Tonga is hopeful of going one better this time around after bowing out in the semi finals to England in a tight 20-18 clash in 2017. Coach Kristian Woolf boasts a stacked squad filled with NRL stars, with Storm enforcer Felise Kaufusi and Roosters gun Daniel Tupou snubbing the Kangaroos. Broncos star Kotoni Staggs was ruled out of the World Cup, requiring a shoulder reconstruction after playing in the halves in the mid-year Pacific Test. Titans superstar David Fifita scored a hattrick in a 48-12 win over France in a warm-up clash, while Manly young gun Tolu Koula also starred. Tonga is a clear favourite to top Group D which includes the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Wales.

Player to watch: Soni Luke.

While the Panthers gun didn’t feature in the warm-up against France, his short turnaround after a NSW Cup premiership could be the reason he was rested. The 26-year-old dummy-half is in line to slot into the No.9 or 14 jersey for Penrith with Apisai Koroisau departing the club. Luke is a crafty ballrunner and his style mirrors that of Koroisau. Coach Ivan Cleary will be sure to keep a close eye on him this tournament.

Title odds: $12 (as per Sportsbet on October 10)

Pool D odds: $1.05 (as per Sportsbet on October 10)

Full squad list: Talatau Amone (St George Illawarra Dragons), David Fifita (Gold Coast Titans), Addin Fonua Blake (Warriors), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Siliva Havili (South Sydney Rabbitohs), William Hopoate (St Helens Saints), Konrad Hurrell (St Helens Saints), Isaiya Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Sione Katoa (Cronulla Sharks), Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm), Keaon Koloamatangi (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Toluta’u Koula (Manly Sea Eagles), Tuimoala Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants), Soni Luke (Penrith Panthers), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warriors), Tesi Niu (Brisbane Broncos), Haumole Olakau’atu (Manly Sea Eagles), Will Penisini (Parramatta Eels), Moses Suli (St George Illawarra Dragons), Siosifa Talakai (Cronulla Sharks), Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Siosiua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)

Siosiua Taukeiaho of Tonga. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC2021)Source: Getty Images

SAMOA

World ranking: 7

Best result: Quarterfinals (2000, 2013, 2017)

Coach: Matt Parish

Analysis: A host of NRL stars snubbed the Kangaroos to represent Samoa at the 2022 World Cup; Joseph Suaalii, Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai, Brian To’o and Junior Paulo all decided against wearing the Australian jersey. There are six Panthers in the squad fresh off a premiership win and Samoa could roll out Penrith’s backline of Izack Tago, Taylan May, Crichton and To’o. Meanwhile, Suaalii looks set to play fullback ahead of Cowboys gun Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Josh Aloiai will likely wear the No.13 jersey with Paulo and Josh Papalii at prop. Samoa face England, France and Greece in Group A, hoping to reach the semi finals for the first time in the history of Samoan rugby league.

Player to watch: Joseph Suaalii.

The 19-year-old lived up to the hype for the Roosters in 2022, however it seems the Tricolours won’t be able to keep their young gun on the wing for much longer. Suaalii has a chance to stake his claim for a larger role in Trent Robinson’s side with a strong performance at the World Cup.

Title odds: $10

Pool A odds: $1.72

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ENGLAND

World ranking: 3

Best result: Winners (1954, 1960, 1972)

Coach: Shaune Wane

Analysis: England came desperately close to taking home the silverware at the 2017 World Cup, losing to Australia 6-0. Shaune Wane, former Wigan Warriors head coach, will lead the squad littered with NRL talent. Roosters star Victor Radley is a huge inclusion while Thomas Burgess, Elliott Whitehead, Luke Thompson, Ryan Sutton, Herbie Farnworth and Dominic Young round out the players plying their trade in Australia. Catalans Dragons gun Sam Tomkins is the team’s captain and will likely line-up at fullback. Former Raiders George Williams and John Bateman will also feature while Michael McIlorum (Catalans Dragons) looks set to take the No.9 jersey with Josh Hodgson sidelined. England has a tough draw, placed in Group A with France, Greece and the third favourites to take out the title — Samoa.

Player to watch: Kai Pearce-Paul.

The 6’5 21-year-old is truly a player to keep an eye out for this tournament. Plying his trade for Wigan in the Super League, Pearce-Paul can play in the backrow and at centre and has teamed up with player agent Sam Ayoub as NRL clubs have already begun circling. Pearce-Paul has reportedly signed with the Knights for the 2024 season and beyond according to The Daily Telegraph. Newcastle fans will have a close eye on this powerhouse.

Title odds: $13

Pool A odds: $2

FRANCE

World ranking: 9

Best result: Runners-up (1954, 1968)

Coach: Laurent Frayssinous

Analysis: Thirteen players from the Catalans Dragons and seven Toulouse Olympique XIII guns feature in France’s World Cup squad. Coach Laurent Frayssinous will be assisted by Roosters coach Trent Robinson who was hired as director of rugby. Robinson is planning to develop French rugby league in the future after spending six years in France as a player and coach. France will be focused on this year’s World Cup but will be looking forward to 2025 when they host the competition. Prolific Catalans tryscorer Fouad Yaha looks set to line up on the wing, while the experienced Tony Gigot looks set to take the No.7 jersey. Toulouse gun Eloi Pelissier will line-up at hooker with Mickaël Goudemand in the backrow. France has a tough task, facing England, Greece and Samo in Group A.

Player to watch: Benjamin Garcia.

France’s captain and lock is a must watch this tournament, having already recorded 189 games for Catalans Dragons since 2013. The 29-year-old has also played six times for his country and is renowned for his high workrate.

Title odds: $501

Pool A odds: $151

Full squad list: Lambert Belmas (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Alrix Da Costa (Dragons Catalans), Jordan Dezaria (Dragons Catalans), Morgan Escaré (Salford Red Devils), Benjamin Garcia (Captain) (Dragons Catalans), Tony Gigot (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Mickaël Goudemand (Dragons Catalans), Benjamin Jullien (Dragons Catalans), Matthieu Laguerre (Dragons Catalans), Samisoni Langi (Dragons Catalans), Corentin Le Cam (Dragons Catalans), Paul Marcon (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Anthony Marion (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Arthur Mourgue (Dragons Catalans), Eloi Pelissier (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Maxime Puech (Albi RL XIII), Arthur Romano (Dragons Catalans), César Rougé (Dragons Catalans), Justin Sangaré (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Paul Séguier (Dragons Catalans), Gadwin Springer (Featherstone Rovers), Maxime Stefani (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Louis Jouffret (Halifax Panthers), Fouad Yaha (Dragons Catalans)

Roosters coach Trent Robinson. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

FIJI

World ranking: 6

Best result: Semi-finals (2008, 2013, 2017)

Coach: Joe Dakuitoga

Analysis: Fiji has a squad littered with NRL stars including Viliame Kikau, Apisai Koroisau, Kevin Naiqama, Mikaele Ravalawa, Maika Sivo, Tui Kamikamica, Sunia Turuva, Semi Valemei and Brandon Wakeham. Isaac Lumelume and Pio Seci have also featured in a handful of games for the Storm and Sea Eagles respectively. Koroisau and Kikau are fresh off a huge premiership defence with the Panthers, while Maika Sivo will link-up with his teammates who took home the silverware. Kamikamica is one of the most damaging front rowers in the NRL and also has the ability to wear the No.13 jersey, playing lock for Craig Bellamy at different stages this season. Fiji will face Australia in the second match of the competition on Saturday October 15 and also will line up against Italy and Scotland in Group B.

Player to watch: Sunia Turuva.

Turuva was electric in the mid-year Pacific Test despite going down to Papua New Guinea, scoring two tries in his debut for his country. Turuva was named man-of-the-match and recorded 229 running metres from 24 carries. The 20-year-old also made his NRL debut this season and was a crucial figure in the Panthers’ NSW Cup premiership.

Title odds: $201

Pool B odds: $21

Fifita hattrick leads Tonga to huge win | 00:38

COOK ISLANDS

World ranking: 20

Best result: Group stage (2000, 2013)

Coach: Tony Iro

Analysis: The Cook Islands will be desperate to make it past the group stage in the nation’s third World Cup appearance. NRL players Makahesi Makatoa, Tepai Moeroa, Kayal Iro, Rua Ngatikaura, Davvy Moale and Brendan Piakura feature under Tony Iro. A host of former first graders have also been named including Esan Marsters, Steven Marsters, Dylan Napa, Brad Takairangi and Zane Tetevano. The Cook Islands took on Samoa in the mid-year Pacific Test and were beaten 42-12, but there were many positives to take away. Sharks rookie Iro performed admirably from fullback, while Steve Marsters consistently threatened the line from the wing. Iro’s side will face Papua New Guinea, Wales and Tonga in Group D.

Player to watch: Davvy Moale.

Fresh off a breakout campaign with the Rabbitohs, Moale will be primed to stamp his claim at this year’s World Cup. The 19-year-old featured 14 times this season under Jason Demetriou, starting at prop twice and lock once. While Moale’s most minutes in one game this season was 33 against the Warriors, the young gun will be looking to make a name for himself on the big stage in England.

Title odds: $501

Pool D odds: $41

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GREECE

World ranking: 11

Best result: First appearance.

Coach: Steve Georgallis

Analysis: Greece was one penalty goal away from beating the Bradford Bulls in a warm-up game, drawing 24-all after Lachlan Ilias hit the upright. Ilias headlines the NRL stars in Greece’s World Cup squad alongside Peter Mamouzelos, two-gamer Billy Tsikrikas and former Shark Billy Magoulias. Eight players have been selected from Greece’s own league, while several players were plucked out of Queensland and NSW Cup. Coach Steve Georgallis played 38 games for Eastern Subrubs between 1989-1992 as well as 20 for the Wests Tigers in 2000. Georgiallis also stepped in as Panthers and Bulldogs interim head coach after Matthew Elliott and Dean Pay were both sacked. Greece is in Group A with England, France and Samoa.

Player to watch: Peter Mamouzelos.

The 21-year-old is one to keep a close eye on in Greece’s first World Cup campaign. Sitting behind Damien Cook in the Rabbitohs’ dummy-half pecking order, the young gun has been learning from one of the best. His combination with Ilias will be crucial, and with five games of NRL experience under his belt he will be hoping to shine.

Title odds: $501

Pool A odds: $501

Full squad list: Jordan Meads (Captain) (Sunshine Coast), Lachlan Ilias (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Stefanos Bastas (Coventry Bears), Nikolaos Bosmos (Rhodes Knights), Terry Constantinou (Sunbury Tigers), Aris Dardamanis (Aris Eagles), Nick Flocas (Ipswich Jets), Myles Gal (TBC), Jake Kambos (Wests Magpies), Kosta Katsidonis (Rhodes Knights), Greg Koutsimporgiorgos (Aris Eagles), Billy Magoulias (Newtown Jets), Peter Mamouzelos (South Sydney Rabbitohs), John Mitsias (Wests Magpies), Nick Mougios (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thodoris Nianiakas (Woolston Rovers), Ionnis Nake (TBC), Chaise Robinson (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ionnis Rousoglou (Aris Eagles), Sebastian Sell (Mittagong Lions), Liam Sui Tin (TBC), Vasili Tsikrikas (Canterbury Bulldogs), Robert Tuliatu (London Broncos), Adam Vrahnos (London Broncos), Mitchell Zampetides (Wests Magpies)

Jordan Meads of Greece. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC2021)Source: Getty Images

ITALY

World ranking: 17

Best result: Group stages (2013, 2017)

Coach: Leo Epifania

Analysis: Eels enforcer Nathan Brown and former Storm playmaker Cooper Johns headline Italy’s World Cup squad. Alec Susino, Jack Campagnolo, Jack Colovatti, Luke Hodge, Jake Maizen, Luca Moretti, Ethan Natoli, Kyle Pickering, Luke Polselli, Nicholas Tilburg and Joseph Tramontana all ply their trade in NSW and Queensland Cup. Brown is Italy’s most experienced player and will lead from the front as the ‘Azzurri’ attempt to progress through Group B against Australia, Fiji and Scotland.

Player to watch: Cooper Johns.

Halfback and son of Fox League’s Matty Johns, Cooper is without a contract for the 2023 season after being released by the Storm. Johns played 11 games across three seasons in Melbourne and will be desperate to showcase his abilities to the remaining 16 NRL clubs.

Title odds: $501

Pool B odds: $151

Full squad list: Giordano Arena (Catania Bulls), Daniel Atkinson (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Simone Boscolo (RC Salon XIII), Nathan Brown (Parramatta Eels), Jack Campagnolo (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Gieolo Celerino (Racing Saint Gaudens), Jack Colovatti (Parramatta Eels), Luke Hodge (Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles), Anton Iaria (Barrow Raiders), Cooper Johns (Melbourne Storm), Ryan King (Whitehaven), Richard Lepori (Swinton Lions), Jake Maizen (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Luca Moretti (Parramatta Eels), Ethan Natoli (Newtown Jets), Ippolito Occhialini (Lignano Sharks), Rinaldo Palumbo (London Broncos), Dean Parata (London Broncos), Kyle Pickering (Cronulla Sharks), Luke Polselli (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Alex Rojatto (Lignano Sharks), Brendan Santi (Keighley Cougars), Alec Susino (Penrith Panthers), Nicholas Tilburg (Wentworthville), Joseph Tramontana (Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles)

Nathan Brown of Italy. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC2021)Source: Getty Images

IRELAND

World ranking: 12

Best result: Quarterfinals (2000, 2008)

Coach: Ged Corcoran

Analysis: Roosters gun Luke Keary is the most experienced member of Ireland’s World Cup squad, joined by Titans prop Jaimin Jolliffe, Bulldogs young gun Josh Cook and NSW Cup veteran James Hasson. Hull KR forward George King will captain the side, while his brother Toby is set to line up in the centres. Louis and Innes Senior are the second pair of brothers, playing for Hull KR and Huddersfield respectively. Ireland will face Jamaica, Lebanon and title threats New Zealand in Group C.

Player to watch: Josh Cook.

The Bulldogs signed Josh Cook ahead of the 2022 season after the 23-year-old was stuck behind Rabbitohs gun Damien Cook in Redfern. Cook’s time in Belmore didn’t go to plan and the crafty dummy-half didn’t feature in first grade. With Ireland, the young gun gets a chance to showcase his skills and potentially wear the No.14 next year with Reed Mahoney arriving at the club.

Title odds: $501

Pool C odds: $21

Full squad list: James Bentley (Leeds), Keanan Brand (Leigh), Liam Byrne (Wigan), Ed Chamberlain (Leigh), Josh Cook (Canterbury Bulldogs), Frankie Halton (Hull KR), James Hasson (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jaimin Jolliffe (Gold Coast Titans), Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters), Joe Keyes (Halifax), Toby King (Warrington), George King (Captain) (Hull KR), Ben Mathiou (Featherstone), James McDonnell (Wigan), Ronan Michael (York), Robbie Mulhern (Warrington), Richie Myler (Leeds), Dan Norman (St Helens), Henry O’Kane (Wests Tigers), Harry Rushton (Huddersfield), Innes Senior (Huddersfield), Louis Senior (Hull KR), Michael Ward (Batley)

Jaimin Jolliffe of Ireland. (Photo by Karl Bridgeman/Getty Images for Rugby League World Cup)Source: Getty Images

JAMAICA

World ranking: 21

Best result: First appearance

Coach: Romeo Monteith, Jermaine Coleman

Analysis: The Reggae Warriors became the first Carribean nation to qualify for the World Cup and will make their first appearance in 2022. Huddersfield trio Ashton Golding, Kieran Rush and Michael Lawrence headline the squad as the only Super League players. Six players have been selected from the country’s domestic competition, all from Duhaney Park Red Sharks. Jamaica will face Ireland, Lebanon and New Zealand in Group C.

Player to watch: Alex Young.

The brother of Dominic Young, who starred for the Knights in the NRL in 2022, took a different route and plays rugby league part-time for Workington Town in the Super League Championship. The 23-year-old stands at 6’6 and can play anywhere in the outside backs. A must-watch at the World Cup.

Title odds: $501

Pool C odds: $201

Full squad list: Jordan Andrade (unnattached), Mo Agoro (Keighley Cougars), Chevaughn Bailey (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), Joe Brown (Workington Town), Jy-Mel Coleman (Unattached), Joel Farrell (Sheffield Eagles), Ashton Golding (Huddersfield Giants), Bradley Ho (Keighley Cougars), Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), Aaron Jones-Bishop (Cornwall RLFC), Ben Jones-Bishop (Sheffield Eagles), Michael Lawrence (Huddersfield Giants), Abevia McDonald (London Skolars), Khamisi McKain (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), Jacob Ogden (York City Knights), Ross Peltier (Dewsbury Rams), Kieran Rush (Huddersfield Giants), Andrew Simpson (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), Marvin Thompson (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), Keenen Tomlinson (Dewsbury Rams), Renaldo Wade (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), AJ Wallace (Bradford Bulls), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax Panthers), Alex Young (Workington Town)

Ashton Golding of Jamaica. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC2021)Source: Getty Images

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COWBOYS: Resurgent Cowboys shock NRL order but roster holes emerge in cruel end

LEBANON

World ranking: 13

Best ranking: Quarterfinals (2017)

Coach: Michael Cheika

Analysis: Lebanon has a squad littered with NRL talent including Mitchell Moses, Adam Doueihi, Jacob Kiraz, Josh Mansour and James Roumanos who made his debut for the Sea Eagles in Round 25. The Cedars had a warm-up clash against Wales and got the job done without Moses in the halves. Lebanon came desperately close to making it through to the semi finals, being beaten by a surging Tonga outfit 24-22 in 2017. Lebanon face a tough assignment to top their group and will face Ireland, Jamaica and New Zealand in Group C.

Player to watch: Jacob Kiraz.

The Bulldogs young gun has played at centre and on the wing in the NRL, but gets the chance to showcase his ability at fullback for the Cedars. Bulldogs supremo Phil Gould and incoming coach Cameron Ciraldo will have all eyes on the 20-year-old who burst onto the scene in 2022. With a strong tournament, Kiraz could be a chance of wearing the No.1 jersey for the Canterbury-Bankstown club.

Title odds: $501

Pool C odds: $61

Full squad list: Jalal Bazzaz (Wests Illawarra), Adam Doueihi (Wests Tigers), Hanna El-Nachar (Penrith Panthers), Toufic El-Hajj (American University of Beirut), Elie El-Zakhem (Parramatta Eels), Atef Hamdan (Wolves, Lebanon), Kayne Kalache (Newtown Jets), Andrew Kazzi (Western Suburbs Magpies), Jacob Kiraz (Canterbury Bulldogs), Bilaal Maarbani (Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles), Anthony Layoun (St Marys Saints), Josh Mansour (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Josh Maree (Wentworthville United), Tony Maroun (Ryde-Eastwood Hawks), Abbas Miski (Wigan Warriors), Brandon Morkos (Canberra Raiders), Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels), Jaxson Rahme (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Khalil Rahme (Mt Pritchard Mounties), Khaled Rajab (Canterbury Bulldogs), Reece Robinson (unattached), James Roumanos (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Mikey Tannous (Wests Tigers), Charbel Tasipale (Newtown Jets)

Mitchell Moses of Lebanon. (Photo by Karl Bridgeman/Getty Images for Rugby League World Cup)Source: Getty Images

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

World ranking: 5

Best finish: Quarterfinals (1985-88, 2000, 2017)

Coach: Stanley Tepend

Analysis: Papua New Guinea is the only country in the world to name rugby league as its national sport. The Kumuls are coached by Stanley Tepend and after a 24-14 upset over Fiji in the mid-year Pacific Test, PNG will be full of confidence coming into this tournament. David Mead captained the side in that game but has since retired. Meanwhile, Storm stars Xavier Coates and Justin Olam, alongside Rabbitohs flyer Alex Johnston are preparing to shock the competition. Throw in Leigh’s Lachlan Lam and Townsville Blackhawks duo Kyle Laybutt and Edene Gebbie and the Kumuls will be hoping to shake up Group D which includes Tonga, the Cook Islands and Wales.

Player to watch: Edene Gebbie.

The Townsville outside back was impressive in the Prime Minister’s XIII clash and combined with Laybutt for Papua New Guinea’s first that night. The 27-year-old played fullback for the Kumuls but will likely shift out of the No.1 jersey with Johnston taking over.

Title odds: $301

Pool D odds: $9

Punches thrown in police footy brawl | 00:34

SCOTLAND

World ranking: 15

Best result: Quarterfinals (2013)

Coach: Nathan Graham

Analysis: Rabbitohs gun Campbell Graham signalled his intentions to represent Scotland, but was ultimately selected for the Kangaroos leaving Dolphins gun Euan Aitken as the only NRL player in the squad. Former Cowboys centre and backrower Kane Linnett will also feature and scored in Scotland’s warm-up match against the England Knights. Bulldogs reserve grade halfback Bailey Hayward will likely take a spot in the halves, while Broncos young gun Logan Bayliss-Brow is set to play in the front row. Scotland will face Italy, Fiji and Australia in a tough Group B.

Player to watch: Logan Bayliss-Brow.

The Brisbane rising star signed a two-year deal with the Broncos in 2021 after starring for Souths Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup. The 23-year-old represented his state in the Under 20s Origin in 2019 and will be one to watch this tournament.

Title odds: $501

Pool B odds: $151

Full squad list: Euan Aitken (New Zealand Warriors), Luke Bain* (Parramatta Eels), Logan Bayliss-Brow (Brisbane Broncos), James Bell (St Helens), Ryan Brierley (Salford Red Devils), Keiran Buchanan (Batley Bulldogs), Lewis Clarke (Edinburgh Eagles), Davey Dixon (Dewsbury Rams), Charlie Emslie (Barrow Raiders), Dale Ferguson (Dewsbury Rams), Calum Gahan (London Broncos), Guy Graham (Whitehaven RLFC), Bailey Hayward (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ben Hellewell (Featherstone Rovers), Liam Hood (Wakefield), Kane Linnett (Hull KR), Bayley Liu (Sheffield Eagles), Sam Luckley (Salford Red Devils), Matty Russell (Toulouse), Kyle Schneider (Mackay Cutters), Jack Teanby (York , City Knights)Shane Toal (Barrow Raiders), Lachlan Walmsley (Halifax Panthers), Alex Walker (London Broncos)

WALES

World ranking: 16

Best result: Semi finals (1975, 1995, 2000)

Coach: John Kear

Analysis: Wales will be hoping to break a 22-year drought and progress through the group stages for the first time since 2000 at this World Cup. Former Panthers and Raiders fullback Caleb Aekins headlines the squad and will likely take the No.1 jersey after a strong season in the Super League Championship. Meanwhile, Rhys Williams is set to line up on the wing, while Mounties halfback Josh Ralph is a strong chance of being chief playmaker. Wales take on the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga in Group D.

Player to watch: Caleb Aekins.

Fresh off the back of a premiership campaign with Leigh, Aekins will be full of confidence. The 24-year-old scored 20 tries in 31 appearances as the Centurions secured promotion back into the Super League.

Title odds: $501

Pool D odds: $151

Full squad: Caleb Aekins (Leigh Centurions), Bailey Antrobus (York City Knights), Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets), Joe Burke (West Wales Raiders), Chester Butler (Bradford Bulls), Mike Butt (Swinton Lions), Connor Davies (Workington Town), Curtis Davies (Whitehaven), Rhys Evans (Bradford Bulls), Will Evans (Whitehaven), Kyle Evans (Wakefield Trinity), Ben Evans (Bradford Bulls), Dan Fleming (Featherstone Rovers), Matty Fozard (Widnes Vikings), Dalton Grant (London Broncos), Tom Hopkins (Barrow Raiders), Elliot Kear (captain – Bradford Bulls), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), James Olds (Valley Diehards), Ollie Olds (Valley Diehards), Josh Ralph (Mounties), Luis Roberts (Leigh Centurions), Anthony Walker (Bradford Bulls), Rhys Williams (Salford Red Devils)

*Odds as per Sportsbet on October 10

With Eamonn Tiernan

Caleb Aekins of Wales. (Photo by Pat Elmont/Getty Images for Rugby League World Cup)Source: Getty Images

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