Foxx ready to make World Cup dream a reality, ‘NRL’s best defensive halfback’ on stopping Kikau

Josh Addo-Carr has achieved everything in rugby league but there is an uncompleted piece of the puzzle in his career that he hopes to fill.

The Canterbury winger arrived in Brisbane to face the XIII. Joining the Australian Prime Minister’s squad with a spring in the step and an eye on next month’s Rugby League World Cup in England.

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“It was always a goal of mine to play at a World Cup and win a World Cup with Australia. That’s the only thing I haven’t achieved yet,” Addo-Carr told AAP ahead of Sunday’s clash against Papua New Guinea at Suncorp Stadium.

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“Hopefully I have that conversation with (coach) Mal Meninga and I get picked.

“I made my debut for Australia at WIN Stadium (against New Zealand) in 2019 and I never thought I would do that in a million years because I never made a national team as a kid,” said Addo-Carr.

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“When I first put on the green and gold jersey I remember running out with the boys and seeing all the green and gold jerseys and my family in the crowd.

“It felt like my Wests Tigers debut as I ran to my NRL debut and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I want that feeling again.”

Addo-Carr, who made two Tests in 2019, has won two NRL Premierships with Melbourne and three State of Origin series with NSW.

Although the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII is not recognized as a Test match, it is still dear to the 27-year-old’s heart and a stepping stone to World Cup participation.

“It’s been a long time since the Australian team has played so to be given the opportunity to represent green and gold is the best thing in rugby league. It’s the highlight,” said the Bulldogs winger.

“Putting the jersey back on is something special.”

Addo-Carr has had time to reflect on being overlooked in this year’s State of Origin series for NSW after playing 12 straight Origin games and winning three out of four series he participated in.

“I was disappointed, as any person would be, not to put on the sky blue jersey, but I got over it,” said Addo-Carr.

“I did what I had to do with the Bulldogs and let my football do the talking. All the hard work I put into the Bulldogs jersey is finally being rewarded by playing on this team.”

Though the Bulldogs missed the top 8, Addo-Carr still scored 16 tries in 23 games to bring his career tally to 112 tries in 150 games.

Meninga did not guarantee his selection for the World Cup squad but said Addo-Carr was “a great player for his country and his state”.

“A player of his ilk who goes on tour is really good from a balance point of view and it’s fun. He brings a lot to a football team,” Meninga said.

Ilias is ready to take on Kikau

He was named the NRL’s best defensive halfback by Andrew Johns, but Lachlan Ilias has admitted he expects to face his toughest test from Viliame Kikau.

The only rookie left this season, Ilias drew attention with both his defense and attack as South Sydney reached the final.

In the Rabbitohs’ semifinal win over Cronulla, he put up two brilliant defensive plays, including clearing the ball clear of Wade Graham and another drag back near the try line against Braden Hamlin-Uele.

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It was those games that caught the eye of Johns, who has regularly offered his support in person and through commentary for the Souths halfback this year.

Ilias has admitted he is still pinching himself over John’s support, having also received a message of support from the Immortal after being benched in Round 16 against St George Illawarra.

“He’s just trying to inflate my tires,” Illias said. “But I guess what he says obviously means a lot from him,” Ilias said.

“Joey was kinda before my time. I don’t really have a great idea of ​​him, but my dad says he was the best thing that ever happened.”

Despite this, the 22-year-old knows that a tough modern test awaits him in the preliminary round on Saturday evening in Kikau.

Penrith tore Souths to tear down Ilias’ defensive edge as the teams met in round four, with Kikau having a hand in three tries on that side.

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 1: Lachlan Ilias of the Rabbitohs passes during the NRL Fourth Round game between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at BlueBet Stadium on April 1, 2022 in Penrith, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Lachlan Iliad. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The first of those came when center Campbell Graham stepped onto the field to prevent Kikau from getting one-on-one with Ilias, allowing Penrith’s second rower to move the ball wide and send Izack Tago past.

“He’s probably the most difficult thing for me to (tackle),” said Ilias.

“He’s obviously quite a big boy. He can do it all – he’s got the passing game, the kicking game, the offloading and he’s got a pretty good stride.

“I’m going to have to do a pretty big job with him.

“Keaon (Koloamatangi) and Stretch (Graham) know that too, and obviously their left side is pretty deadly.”

Ilias’ team-mates know they can now count on his defense after seeing the rookie being targeted earlier in the season.

“From lap one to where he is now, I (Johns) totally agree,” said Koloamatangi.

“It makes my job a lot easier, just in the sense that I can trust him.

“I don’t have to focus all my attention on helping Lachy when I know I can do my job first.”


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