Wesser misses national selection

? SYDNEY ? Penrith fullback Rhys Wesser was a controversial omis- sion from Australia's 23-man prelim- inary squad named yesterday for the Anzac Test against New Zealand in Brisbane on Friday week.

The Rockhampton product leads the NRL in metres gained (951m) and has scored six tries from five match- es this year to sit behind only Mel- bourne fullback Billy Slater, who has bagged seven tries.

Queensland Origin fullback Wesser has also made eight line breaks this year ? equal leader with Melbourne's Steven Bell ? and was man-of-the-match in Penrith's 36-16 win over the Storm on Friday night.

Slater was named in the squad but his Storm teammates, Maroons hooker Cameron Smith and City Or- igin halfback Matt Orford, can con- sider themselves unlucky.

Melbourne centres Matt King and Bell were also bolters to make the initial 22-man squad, which was ex- panded to 23 to cover for players coming back from injury, such as Bulldogs pair Willie Tonga (mumps) and Mark O'Meley (calf).

A 17-man squad will be announced on Sunday following St George Illawarra's clash with Brisbane. The Panthers are the best repre- sented club with five players while the Broncos have four.

North Queensland winger Matt Sing was named in the squad, con- firming he had changed his mind about retiring from representative football.

The 23-man squad is: Luke Bailey (St George Illawarra), Shaun Berrigan (Bris- bane), Tonie Carroll (Brisbane), Petero Ci- voniceva (Brisbane), Craig Fitzgibbon (Syd- ney Roosters), Craig Gower (Penrith), Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta), Ben Ken- nedy (Manly), Brett Kimmorley (Cronulla), Luke Lewis (Penrith), Darren Lockyer (Bris- bane), Anthony Minichiello (Sydney Roost- ers), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Steve Price (NZ Warriors), Luke Priddis (Penrith), Luke Rooney (Penrith), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), Jason Ryles (St George Illawarra), Matt Sing (North Queensland), Billy Slater (Mel- bourne), Willie Tonga (Bulldogs), Trent Wa- terhouse (Penrith), Craig Wing (Sydney Roosters).

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