• Former Queensland State of Origin coach and player, Mal Meninga announces the Kangaroos line-up. (AAP)Source: AAP
Mal Meninga has named his first Kangaroos squad as national coach, with four Indigenous players being named today to take on the Kiwis.
By
Danny Teece-Johnson

26 Apr 2016 - 3:26 PM  UPDATED 26 Apr 2016 - 3:35 PM

Immortal in waiting Jonathan Thurston was an automatic selection in Mal Meninga's first Kangaroos squad as coach, with Greg Inglis and Sam Thaiday again selected to run out for the 'green and gold'.

Blake Ferguson will also play his debut Test for the Kangaroos, after the former troubled star's show of maturity on and off the field recently.

After a very public fall from grace Ferguson’s career was almost over before it began, prompting former Rugby League player and World Boxing Champion Anthony “The Man” Mundine to take up a mentor role.

Mundine says “it’s great for Blake to turn his life around and shows what a strong person he is to come back from where he was 18 to 24 months ago, and I just wish him all the best.”

When asked about the importance of Indigenous mentors in Rugby League Mundine said “I would love to see the NRL do more in this area, not only for the current players but aspiring players.”

“With Blake I just taught him about making positive choices, surrounding yourself with positive people and just how to stay mentally strong."

Meninga’s Surprise Selections

In a surprise selection Mal Meninga has picked Darius Boyd as fullback, pushing Greg Inglis out of his favoured position to the centres. Blake Ferguson will play on the wing, with Thurston at five-eight and Thaiday coming off the bench.

"I think we're a better balanced footy team," says Meninga on picking Greg Inglis in the centres and Darius as fullback.

Cameron Smith is skipper for the 21st time, and Parramatta's Fijian flyer, Semi Radradra will make his test debut for Australia.

"I think he's going to do Australia proud," says Meninga on Semi. "It was his own decision. He deserves to be there."

“It is the fourth most experienced line-up in Australia’s Test history but there will also be four debutants," Meninga says.

The Test will be played against the Kiwis in Newcastle on Friday May 6.

The full Australian team: Darius Boyd, Semi Radradra, Greg Inglis, Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Paul Gallen, Josh Papalii, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Reserves: Josh McGuire, Michael Morgan, James Tamou, Sam Thaiday. 18th man: Aidan Guerra. 19th man: Michael Jennings.

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