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Blues power Roos push

Sunday, December 03, 2017

It's the Blues tidal wave powering Australia to rugby league supremacy.

Eighteen months after newly-appointed coach Mal Meninga relied on Queensland forwards, the Kangaroos are on the verge of Rugby League World Cup glory with a near all-NSW pack.

Led by starting props Aaron Woods and David Klemmer, seven of Australia's 10 forwards named for Saturday's final against England hail from south of the Tweed.

Skipper Cameron Smith, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire are the only Maroons, while the bench of Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Jordan McLean, Tyson Frizell and Wade Graham is rinsed blue.

It's a far cry from Meninga's first Test match in charge mid last year, when Paul Gallen and James Tamou were a speck of blue in a pack washed maroon. Kangaroos second-rower and NSW captain Boyd Cordner singled out Campbell-Gillard, who has yet to play State of Origin, for proving his ability at the representative level.

"Did you see his runs against Fiji (in the semi-final)? He's an exciting kid coming through to watch. I didn't know he was 24, I thought he was a lot older than what he was," Cordner said.

"He's a guy that has taken his opportunity with both hands. He's been really good for Australia in this tournament and if he keeps going I'm sure he'll get a lot more Tests."

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