Ben Hunt, Josh Dugan included in Australia’s World Cup campaign

Cup full: Josh Dugan training with the Prime Minister's XIII. Picture: AAP Image/NRL
Cup full: Josh Dugan training with the Prime Minister's XIII. Picture: AAP Image/NRL

Incoming Dragons halfback Ben Hunt has been chosen as the back-up hooker option to premiership-winning Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith in Australia’s World Cup squad. 

Meanwhile, departing St George Illawarra fullback and centre Josh Dugan has retained his green-and-gold jersey, despite the drama in NSW camp this year and missing the bus before the Dragons’ crucial game against Penrith.

“This squad has the right mix of youth and experience, as well as an overall balance across the positions for a World Cup campaign,” Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said.

“It was selected based on form, performances in the State of Origin series as well as previously in the green and gold jersey.

“We have a number of players who can play multiple positions and that will be an advantage over the course of what we hope will be six matches.”

Dugan was shifted to the centres by coach Paul McGregor after the emergence of Matt Dufty. 

The 27-year-old has signed with Cronulla.

Tyson Frizell has also been named for the Kangaroos, after struggling with back and rib injuries during the NRL and State of Origin campaigns. 

Australia’s opening World Cup game is against England on October 27 at Melbourne’s AAMI Park. 

AUSTRALIA'S WORLD CUP SQUAD

Backs: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Munster, Michael Morgan, James Maloney

Forwards: Aaron Woods, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, Andrew Fifita, Jake Trbojevic, Jordan McLean, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Smith, Ben Hunt.