No Kiwis in Rugby League World XIII for the first time in six years

The Kiwis' 2017 nadir has led to no New Zealand players being named in Rugby League World magazine's Team of the Year.

Auckland-born Tonga star Jason Taumalolo made the cut for a second consecutive year, but it was the first time since 2011 that the Kiwis were not represented in the English magazine's all-star side.

Taumalolo, the North Queensland Cowboys loose forward, and Australian captain and hooker Cameron Smith were the only players to receive maximum votes from the judging panel – 12 rugby league journalists evenly spread between the northern and southern hemispheres.

Smith was joined in the World XIII by seven Australian team-mates, including longtime Melbourne Storm and Queensland State of Origin colleagues Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.

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Smith, the 2017 world player of the year, made the team for the 12th year in a row while it was Slater's seventh appearance and Cronk's fourth.

Three Englishman, veteran prop James Graham, wing Jermaine McGillvary and centre Kallum Watkins, made the side along with Fiji's Melbourne Storm wing Suliasi Vunivalu and Taumalolo, who controversially chose to play for Tonga ahead of the Kiwis after playing for New Zealand in the 2017 Anzac test.

Graham was named in the World XIII for a ninth time – a record for an English player.

Rugby League World noted Vunivalu and Taumalolo were the first players from tier two rugby league nations to make the team since Semi Radrada (Fiji) and Anthony Milford (Samoa) in 2015.

Prior to that there had only been two tier two representatives – Kieron Cunningham (Wales) in 2000 and Papua New Guinea scrumhalf Adrian Lam in 1995.


1 Billy Slater (Australia)
2 Jermaine McGillvary (England)
3 Will Chambers (Australia)
4 Kallum Watkins (England)
5 Suliasi Vunivalu (Fiji)
6 Michael Morgan (Australia)
7 Cooper Cronk (Australia)
8 James Graham (England)
9 Cameron Smith (Australia)
10 Aaron Woods (Australia)
11 Boyd Cordner (Australia)
12 Matt Gillett (Australia)
13 Jason Taumalolo (Tonga)

 - Stuff