Raiders prop Shannon Boyd is set to make his Kangaroos debut against the Kiwis in Perth.
Raiders prop Shannon Boyd is set to make his Kangaroos debut against the Kiwis in Perth. Quinn Rooney

'The best vibe of an Aussie team I have been part of'

RUGBY LEAGUE: Australian coach Mal Meninga has named three rookies to debut in tomorrow night's Test against New Zealand in Perth.

Meninga has gone for size, with Canberra's 122kg giant Shannon Boyd to debut in the starting side after an injury to Josh Papalii.

St George Illawarra star Tyson Frizell and Cronulla premiership winner Valentine Holmes will receive their first Test caps.

"This will be a great challenge for this team,” Meninga said. "The Kiwis have picked a very strong squad themselves.

"It will be great to see how some of our younger players fare against such an opponent.”

Frizell will start off the bench, while Trent Merrin has been named at lock to replace Corey Parker, who was not named in the squad.

Holmes, 21, will fill the wing position last filled by Semi Radradra and line up outside Greg Inglis.

Inglis returned to Kangaroos camp yesterday after the birth of his daughter.

The injury to Papalii has opened the door for Dragons back-rower Frizell to make his first appearances for the Kangaroos, and he's joined on the bench by Michael Morgan, David Klemmer and Sam Thaiday.

Thaiday will play his 30th Test match for Australia.

Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan have retained their places from the Anzac Test at right wing and right centre respectively.

Cowboys prop Matt Scott said there was no division in the side as a leftover from the State of Origin series.

"It probably has the best vibe of an Aussie team I have been part of,” Scott said.

"There has been no talk of Origin or anything like that everyone is getting on really well. There is a good mix of players.

"You will always see players that know each other really well naturally spend time together but there is certainly no division there.

"We have all really embraced this change to the Kangaroos that Mal has brought about and I am really looking forward to the next five or six weeks.”

The Kiwis are without stars Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, but their pack is formidable.

The return of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the first time since 2013, plus the inclusion of the Storm's Jesse Bromwich and Dally M Medal winner Jason Taumalolo, give the Kiwis strength up the middle.

New Kiwi coach David Kidwell was understated about his side's preparation.

"Within the short week it's about getting our performance right, making sure the environment's right for these guys - you know, keeping things nice and simple so everything's nice and clear for them,” he told Radio NZ.

AUSTRALIA: Darius Boyd, Blake Ferguson, Greg Inglis, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (c), Shannon Boyd, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Trent Merrin. Interchange: David Klemmer, Michael Morgan, Tyson Frizell, Sam Thaiday.

NEW ZEALAND: Jordan Kahu, Jason Nightingale, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jordan Rapana, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich (c), Issac Luke, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris, Jason Taumalolo. Interchange (from): Lewis Brown, Martin Taupau, Manu Ma'u, Adam Blair, Joseph Tapine, Gerard Beale.



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