Australia: Cowboys pact saves Australia more woes

Hamburg Mayor steps “Pact of the Free Cities” at

 Hamburg Mayor steps “Pact of the Free Cities” at Hamburg's first mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) has joined the international “Pact of the Free Cities”, which is committed to democratic values. At the annual meeting of the alliance in Prague, he was included in the pact together with Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko and the ruling mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey (SPD), as the Senate announced in Hamburg. Likewise the mayors of Brussels, Riga and Vilnius.

Jeremiah Nanai has revealed how he and best mate Murray Taulagi made a pact to prioritise the Kangaroos and play for Australia together at the Rugby League World Cup.

Cowboys Murray Taulagi (l) and Jeremiah Nanai (r) have pinned their international hopes to Australia © Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS Cowboys Murray Taulagi (l) and Jeremiah Nanai (r) have pinned their international hopes to Australia

Australia coach Mal Meninga will announce his 24-man squad on Monday, with Nanai and Taulagi expected to feature among a host of potential debutants.

The Kangaroos have been rocked by several players opting to turn out for Pacific nations, including Junior Paulo, Brian To'o, Jarome Luai, Joseph Suaalii and Josh Papali'i.

Police charge North Queensland Cowboys player Luciano Leilua with alleged DV offences

  Police charge North Queensland Cowboys player Luciano Leilua with alleged DV offences North Queensland Cowboys player Luciano Leilua is charged with alleged domestic violence offences in Sydney by NSW Police.Police allege the 26-year-old assaulted a woman who is known to him, and smashed her phone.

North Queensland winger Taulagi was close to joining that group, with the 19-year-old seriously considering prioritising Samoa as recently as last month.

However Nanai said he and Taulagi had spoken and vowed to try and represent Australia together, saving Meninga another withdrawal on the wing.

"He was (thinking about playing for Samoa)," Nanai told AAP.

"We had a chat about it but we both agreed to play for Australia. We've always wanted to.

"We grew up here and done everything here. We had a discussion about it and (said) let's play for Australia.

"We're best mates. We do everything together. We have feeds and do everything together.

"I can't wait. If he has the opportunity to put the jersey on I'll be more than happy for him to represent Australia too."

Cowboys forward Luciano Leilua charged by police over alleged incident

  Cowboys forward Luciano Leilua charged by police over alleged incident Cowboys forward Luciano Leilua charged by police over alleged incidentThe 26-year-old signed with North Queensland mid-way through the 2022 season, but had returned to his home in Sydney following the club's exit from the finals.

Nanai said the decision was far easier for himself, after he was named in an under-15 Australian honour squad as a schoolboy, although he never got to play a match.

It meant the newly crowned Dally M rookie of the year never seriously considered playing for Samoa at this year's tournament, after a brilliant season in which he scored 18 tries and debuted for Queensland.

"It was always Australia," Nanai said.

"I do have Samoan heritage. Both parents. But I've always wanted to play for Australia.

"Unfortunately we didn't get to play (in under-15s). So I was hoping later on down the track I get to put that jersey on.

"This is the only opportunity I have had ... so I'm hoping. Fingers crossed."

Meanwhile Meninga will face several other decisions, with Australia having not played a Test since their 2019 loss to Tonga.

Daly Cherry-Evans and Nathan Cleary will likely be taken to England, with a call to be made on the starting half before Australia's opener against Fiji on October 15.

That decision could influence who takes over as captain from Boyd Cordner captain, with Cherry-Evans and Tedesco vying for the honours.

Grand-finalists Shaun Lane and Liam Martin are fighting for back-row spots against each other, while Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards has a chance of bolting into the squad.

Cowboys NRL forward to face Sydney court .
Stood down for the World Cup, North Queensland NRL second-rower Luciano Leilua is due to face a Sydney court charged with domestic violence offences. © Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS Cowboys second-rower Luciano Leilua is due to face court charged wi The former Wests Tigers forward allegedly assaulted a 26-year-old woman known to him and smashed her phone while at a home on Sydney's southwestern outskirts.

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