Confirmation via Twitter, a couple of high fives with twin brother Josh and a dream fulfilled – now Brett Morris is intent on widening the gulf between Australia and its challengers in the ‘‘strongest World Cup in recent times’’.
The St George Illawarra winger was included in Tim Sheens’ 24-man Kangaroos squad yesterday, with Bulldogs centre Josh also earning a spot for a maiden World Cup voyage.
The pair received the good news together from social media after flying back from a weekend getaway in Melbourne.
But it didn’t take Morris long to get back to business, as he claimed Australia’s main challengers – hosts England and holders New Zealand – boasted their strongest hands in years.
The Kangaroos clash with England in the tournament opener at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on October26.
Fiji and Ireland are the other two teams in Pool A.
‘‘We’ve always been favourites and they’re probably going to have that tag on us again, but there’s definitely going to be some high-quality sides,’’ Morris told the Mercury.
‘‘It’s probably going to be the strongest World Cup in recent times. We’re definitely going over there to win it and that’s our mentality.
‘‘The English side they’ve got at the moment is probably the strongest side they’ve had in a very, very long time.
‘‘The Kiwis won the last World Cup. They’ve got better since then. So we’re going to have to do our best if we want to beat both those sides.’’
Australia slumped to a shock defeat to New Zealand in the 2008 World Cup final on home soil, fuelling Ricky Stuart’s exit from the top job.
Morris made his Australian debut shortly after in 2009 and has been a fixture ever since.
He said the bulk of that squad will still be motivated by the defeat at Suncorp Stadium when they land in Britain next week.
‘‘I think you could tell [that] by the way they talked about the games coming up and the feeling they were still hurting and wanted to correct it,’’ Morris said.
‘‘But I think it’s more about excitement [now] and everyone’s very excited about the chance to play in a World Cup. Playing as a kid, you always dream of playing in a World Cup – it’s the biggest thing you can play in.’’
The Kiama junior had been hampered with a knee injury picked up early in the season, and had a race be fit for NSW’s State of Origin campaign.
And despite the Dragons plunging from finals contention well before season’s end, he said both the mind and body had been refreshed after a short break, including playing for the Prime Minister’s XIII in Papua New Guinea.
‘‘Obviously not playing in the finals, having the chance to have a break, has really given [the knee] an opportunity to get better,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s always been in the back of my mind to play the best footy I can so I can be a part of that tour. I’m just glad the side has been named and I’m in it.’’
Meanwhile, Dragons centre Charly Runciman has been included in the Junior Kangaroos team to take on the Junior Kiwis at WIN Jubilee Oval on Sunday.