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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 01:37 GMT 02:37 UK
Waite ready for Aussie young guns
Brad Fittler
Fittler will lead the Kangaroos again
Great Britain coach David Waite has welcomed the opportunity to pit his wits against the latest crop of youngsters to emerge from the Australian production line.

The Kangaroo selectors have named a 24-strong squad with an average age of just 23 for the first Ashes tour for seven years.

There are six new caps and five players with just one Test appearance - but not one player over the age of 29.

"The selectors have picked the squad on form," said Waite.


It's an exciting squad and makes for great Test matches
David Waite
"The re-emergence of a Kangaroo tour has been seen by the Australians as an opportunity to blend experienced players with new caps.

"The beauty is that the crop they have got to choose from is going to be equal or better than the old crop.

"Braith Anasta and Mark Gasnier were only here two years ago in the Australian schoolboys team which is an indicator of their talent."

Forwards Gorden Tallis and Bryan Fletcher are sidelined through injury and Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers have switched to rugby union.

"It's an exciting squad and makes for great Test matches," said Waite.

"But any football team is beatable. It boils down to attitude."

Brad Fittler will again lead the touring side, despite suggestions he might be stepping down from representative rugby league.

Five members of the Newcastle Knights team that won the Australian National Rugby League grand final on Sunday are also included - along with four players from the beaten Parramatta Eels side.

Brett Kimmorley
Kimmorley is a surprise omission
But several big names have missed out.

Brett Kimmorley and Ryan Girdler, both regular members of the Test team for the past few seasons, were overlooked while 2001 player of the year Preston Campbell also missed out.

An indication of the strength in the squad was highlighted when a number of key members, including star halfback Andrew Johns, were left out of next weekend's one-off international squad to face Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.

Australia's national rugby league team, known as the Kangaroos, have been visiting Britain since 1908 but have not toured since 1994 because of the fallout over Super League's control of the game.

This year's tour, while much shorter than previous tours, kicks off against St Helens on 20 October and ends in a three-Test series against Britain.

The Australians have not lost a series in Britain since 1959-60 and are strong favourites to win again this year.


Australia squad: Braith Anasta, Trent Barrett, Nathan Blacklock, Danny Buderus, Petero Civoniceva, Dane Carlaw, Brad Fittler (captain), Mark Gasnier, Matthew Gidley, Craig Gower, Nathan Hindmarsh, Andrew Johns, Robbie Kearns, Ben Kennedy, Darren Lockyer, Jamie Lyon, Adam MacDougall, Brad Meyers, Jason Ryles, Jason Stevens, Lote Tuqiri, Michael Vella, Daniel Wagon, Shane Webcke.

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