Maloney, Morgan Fight For The No.6 Jumper
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga says James Maloney and Michael Morgan are likely to feature in Australia's 17 against New Zealand this weekend.
The pair were named in Meninga's 19-man squad to play the Kiwis on Sunday morning (AEDT time) alongside other bench utility candidates Jake Friend and Matt Moylan.
As halfback Cooper Cronk will be rested, Meninga's conundrum is whether James Maloney remains in the No. 6 jumper following the Kangaroos' 42-point win over Scotland alongside the returning Johnathan Thurston, or starts from the bench.
Alternatively Meninga may utilise North Queensland halves Morgan and Thurston in Australian colours for the first time.
"We're just doing a rotation. We rested Johnathan last week so we thought it was in our best interests to keep the squad as fresh as we possibly can," Meninga said of Cronk's absence.
"Cooper finished the year in the grand final and has played twice in recent weeks so we thought the rotation was for the best.
"Now it's just a matter of seeing who starts and who sits on the bench," Meninga added of Maloney and Morgan's credentials.
"Michael Morgan has been on the bench for all our Test matches this year so we're thinking about starting him – to give him more game time – and have Jimmy (Maloney) come on some time through the game.
"Or we might start Jimmy to maintain our bench utility role with Michael who can play anywhere on the footy field."
Greg Inglis, Matt Scott, Boyd Cordner and Matt Gillett will all return to face the Kiwis as well.
Meninga also confirmed Josh Dugan will be rested alongside Cronk as he looks to determine the best-possible 17 for the Kangaroos.
"We are paying the Kiwis the respect they deserve by having Greg Inglis back in our team as well as having Boyd Cordner and Matt Gillett in our back row," Meninga said.
"The Kiwis will have a lot more cohesion and they'll be riding high from their close win last weekend. Their confidence will be up so we'll have to be on our game to be successful."
The winner of Australia and New Zealand will ensure their place in the Four Nations final at Anfield on November 20.
This article first appeared on NRL.com