PARRAMATTA’S Dally M Medallist Jarryd Hayne will need to fend off a precocious challenge for his Australian wing spot from Wests Tigers’ former Wallaby star Lote Tuqiri. The Daily Telegraph can reveal Tuqiri - just seven games back in the NRL - is locked in a three-way battle with Hayne and St George Illawarra’s Brett Morris for the Test wing positions in Australia’s side to play New Zealand tomorrow week in Melbourne.
Hayne and Morris favourites, but the in-form Tuqiri has considerable support.
Selectors will announce the Australian side at 5.30pm on Sunday at Campbelltown after Wests Tigers’ match against the Sydney Roosters.
A blockbusting performance could just see Tuqiri do what many thought impossible - win back his Kangaroos jumper.
Asked whether Tuqiri was being discussed, Australian selector Bob McCarthy said: "You’d have to think so. Billy Slater will be fullback, Hayne is there, so is Morris. But Lote would have to be right in the mix too.
“We will try and come as close to the side that won in England last year [Four Nations], but there are a few out injured.”
Steve Roach, the great Balmain and Australian prop, has no doubt Tuqiri will be considered.
“He’s a finisher,” Roach said. "Lote is as good a finisher as anyone in the competition.
"And he is going as good as any winger in the competition.
“There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be there.”
Selectors are aware Hayne has not been able to repeat his 2009 magic, but he may have enough runs on the board to be chosen.
Melbourne players Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater will be picked, despite being implicated in the Storm’s salary cap fiasco. Jamie Lyon and Israel Folau are queuing up to be Inglis’ centre partner, with Folau having a slight edge.
Glenn Stewart, Ben Creagh, Sam Thaiday and Paul Gallen are in line for back-row selection.
Thaiday and Gallen are likely to be chosen.
Roach said of the forwards: "I’d have Ben Creagh somewhere in there but I’m not sure exactly for who. Sam Thaiday and Creagh are the two form forwards.
"Another player I’d like to see there would be Luke O’Donnell.
“He could play prop and then you could have another back-rower on the bench. Michael Weyman is another who will be close to selection.”
hayne = not a winger
lote = a winger
hayne = overated
lote = proving his pay packet
hayne = sooky lala
lote = dual international that doesnt talk about him self
hayne = ill run 20m untouched and get the front page of the sports section
lote = ill run 20m but it wont be easy done like hayne
hayne will get it
Hayne fullback, slater won’t be picked
I’m thinking the other way round. It’s been well documented Hayne has been a bit quiet this year and struggling in a team who rely solely on him. Slater however, is the incumbant fullback and IMO that holds some weighting when it comes to team selection