Mal Meninga cops backlash over brutal Valentine Holmes and Selwyn Cobbo drama

The Kangaroos coach has copped backlash over his selection drama.

Valentine Holmes reacts and Selwyn Cobbo lines-up for the national anthem.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has made the controversial call to drop Broncos winger Selwyn Cobbo (pictured right) for the returning Valentine Holmes (pictured left). (Getty Images)

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has copped backlash after opting to drop Broncos winger Selwyn Cobbo for the returning Valentine Holmes with fans questioning his inclusion in the squad. Cobbo made his Kangaroos debut in Australia's 38-12 win over Samoa.

Meninga hinted at changes to the backline for the clash against New Zealand having not been completely satisfied with the performance. While he praised Kotoni Staggs and Hamiso Tibuai-Fidow, he left room for either Dylan Edwards or Cobbo to be dropped.

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Holmes is returning after the NRL hit him with a one-game suspension for posting a photo with a bag with white power in it. And Meninga has wasted no time in selecting the Maroons centre back into the starting XIII.

However, his selection comes at the cost of Cobbo with Holmes moving to the wing after Staggs and 'The Hammer' retained their centre pairing combination. And some Australian fans have reacted with shock to Holmes' immediate recall.

NRLW star Millie Elliot questioned Holmes' inclusion with the Roosters player claiming he wasn't in top form to finish the season before his suspension. "We know he is such a great player. I can't really wrap my head around that selection," Elliot said on Triple M Radio. "I just think it's controversial. I think there are other players that have done well all year."

Selwyn Cobbo celebrates with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
Selwyn Cobbo (pictured right) has been dropped from the Kangaroos team after his debut, to make way for Valentine Holmes. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Wendell Sailor claimed Meninga selected Holmes for the big game due to his experience in the crucial moments. However, rugby league fans were divided with the controversial selection.

Many agreed with Elliot and questioned his inclusion for the clash against New Zealand on form. However, many Aussie fans disagreed and claimed Holmes deserves a position in the backline after many years playing in the green and gold.

Nicho Hynes confident ahead of Kangaroos debut

One player that will be thrilled to make the side to face New Zealand is Nicho Hynes. The Sharks halfback will make his debut off the bench for the Kangaroos having endured a rollercoaster year. Hynes debuted for NSW in June but was dropped after one match when he was thrown on at right centre for the final 12 minutes.

Playing out of position, Hynes missed a tackle in the lead-up to a Queensland try. Hynes' form was impacted after being dropped, which he later admitted that the Origin axing had affected his confidence.

Mal Meninga reacts.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga (pictured) has opted to select Valentine Holmes over Selwyn Cobbo for the clash against New Zealand. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for RLWC)

However, after Meninga included him in the squad due to Nathan Cleary's injury, Daly Cherry-Evans has helped guide the halfback in the camp and Hynes has admitted he is ready for his debut.

"I have a much clearer idea of what my role is this time around," he told AAP. "That's with all due respect to the NSW camp. I will come in well-equipped to playing this role.

"Mal's been in this position before with similar players like Michael Morgan, (Cooper) Cronk, 'Chez' (Daly Cherry-Evans) did it too off the bench. We have a plan, we've trained it already and now it's a case of going out and nailing it."

Hynes admitted while he is accustomed to starting games, he isn't foreign to coming off the bench and making an impact. "I've done this before, and getting thrown out there with 10 minutes to go in an Origin game doesn't define what my capabilities are as a utility off the bench," Hynes said.

"I have been there and done that before, so I won't let that one thing define me in the era. I am a much more confident and mature player than I was six months ago."

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