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

featured, League, NRL, Rugby League

Josh Addo-Carr has achieved everything in rugby league but there’s one incomplete piece in his career jigsaw that he wants to put in place.

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

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

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

“I debuted for Australia in 2019 at WIN Stadium (against New Zealand) and never in a million years did I think I would do that because I never made any representative teams as a kid,” said Addo-Carr.

“When I put that green and gold jersey for the first time I remember running out with the boys and saw all the green and gold jerseys and my family in the crowd.

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

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

While the Australian PM’s XIII is not recognised as a Test match, it is still dear to the 27-year-old’s heart and a stepping stone to playing in the World Cup.

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

“To have the jersey on again is special.”

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

“I was disappointed as any human being would be in not putting the sky-blue jersey on, but I got over it,” said Addo-Carr.

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

Despite the Bulldogs missing the top eight, Addo-Carr still scored 16 tries in 23 games to take his career tally to 112 tries in 150 matches.

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

“A player of his ilk going on a tour is really good from a balance point of view, and fun. He adds a lot to a footy team,” said Meninga.

Ilias ready to take on Kikau

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

The only rookie half still standing this season, Ilias has attracted attention for his defence as much as his attack in South Sydney’s run through the finals.

He pulled off two brilliant defensive plays in the Rabbitohs’ semi-final win over Cronulla, including knocking the ball free from Wade Graham and another drag-back close to the try line on Braden Hamlin-Uele.

CLICK HERE for a seven-day free trial to watch the NRL on KAYO

It was those plays that attracted the attention of Johns, who has regularly offered his support to the Souths halfback this year, in person and in commentary.

Ilias has admitted he is still pinching himself over Johns’ backing, after also receiving a message of support from the Immortal after he was benched against St George Illawarra in round 16.

“He’s just trying to pump up my tyres,” Illias said. “But I appreciate what he says, obviously coming from him that means a lot,” said Ilias.

“Joey was sort of before my time. I don’t really have too much vision of him but my dad says he was the best ever to do it.”

Regardless, the 22-year-old knows a stern modern-day test awaits in Kikau in Saturday night’s preliminary final.

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

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Lachlan Ilias of the Rabbitohs passes during the round four NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at BlueBet Stadium, on April 01, 2022, in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

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

The first of those came when centre Campbell Graham moved in field to stop Kikau getting one-on-one with Ilias, allowing the Penrith second-rower to move the ball wide and send Izack Tago over. 

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

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

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

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

Ilias’ teammates know they can now trust his defence, after seeing the rookie targeted earlier in the season.

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

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

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


Leave a Reply