No Bad Blood In Kangaroos
Australian captain Cameron Smith says his Kangaroos side will have no problems coming together after a State of Origin series marred with bad blood.
The Kangaroos' squad will be picked at the end of the 2016 NRL season as they prepare for the Four Nations tournament to be held in England over October and November.
This will be an ideal warm-up for Australia as they continue their preparations for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
There is a fear that the Kangaroos players may struggle to unite, with tensions at an all-time high between Queensland and New South Wales after the Blues performed their lap of honour during Maroons skipper Cameron Smith's victory speech at the end of Origin III.
But Smith insists that Origin rivalries will have no place in the Australian side, and the 33-year-old says if anyone can't put their state rivalries aside then they don't deserve to represent their country.
"I've been playing for the Kangaroos since 2006 and I've never had any issues with Queenslanders and New South Welshmen uniting when they come into the Kangaroos' squad," Smith said.
"At the end of the day, we're representing Australia. All club hats and state hats are left at the door when you come into the national team.
"That's how it will be at the end of this year and that's how it'll be for the World Cup as well.
"Anyone that struggles with leaving that stuff at the door when they've been called up to play for Australia probably shouldn't be playing for the Kangaroos."
Australia Coach Mal Meninga echoed Smith's thoughts, playing down the perceived tensions.
Meninga, a veteran of 46 Tests, says the Kangaroos have never struggled to unite as a team, and the former Australian captain believes it will be no different when they come together at the end of the year.
"It won't be hard to unite the players," Meninga said.
"I've mentioned it in the past that I've never had any experiences in the Australian jersey where players haven't come together.
"I've been there before. Origin is all about passion and that dislike for the other jersey.
"That's what makes it so unique and special, and that's why it's one of the biggest sporting events in Australia.
"The players will move on and do their best for their club side until their club gets knocked out of the competition or wins a grand final.
"After that comes the national side and I don't anticipate any problems whatsoever."
This article first appeared on NRL.com