17 Oct 2008

Another injury concern for Kangaroos

6:21 am on 17 October 2008

Australia's Rugby League World Cup injury woes have worsened with Manly full-back Brett Stewart withdrawing from the Kangaroos squad.

Stewart withdrew from the squad due to a shoulder injury, with Broncos pair Karmichael Hunt and Darius Boyd called into the squad.

The grand final-winner acted on the advice of team doctors, who ruled out Brisbane strike centre Justin Hodges earlier this week.

St George Illawarra centre Matt Cooper was ruled out as a possible replacement for Hodges yesterday due to injury while the ARL has ruled out picking Penrith youngster Michael Jennings, who has already been named in the Tonga squad.

Despite Stewart's injury-enforced withdrawal there are still five Sea Eagles in Australia's 24-man squad following the club's record 40-nil grand final win - four more than made the Kangaroos 17 in their last Test outing in May.

After three straight State of Origin series victories, Queenslanders are expected to dominate the starting line-up and could make up the entire backline.

Australia has won nine of the 12 league World Cups played sporadically and in a variety of formats since 1954.

The Kangaroos first tasted victory in 1957, when they topped the four-team table in a tournament played in Australia and New Zealand.

They won the last version of the event, which featured 16 teams, with a 40-12 final win over the Kiwis in Manchester in 2000.