SYDNEY (AP) — Andrew Fifita has been left out of Australia's squad for the Four Nations tournament just two days after scoring the winning try in Cronulla's drought-ending 14-12 NRL grand final win over Melbourne.
National Rugby League chief executive Todd Greenberg said Fifita and Fiji-born Parramatta winger Semi Radradra were not considered for selection in the 24-man squad because of off-field related issues.
Fifita is under investigation from the NRL's integrity unit for his public support for a man convicted of a fatal assault. Radradra is under investigation amid domestic violence allegations.
Greenberg said the impending legal proceedings would be a distraction to the player and the team.
"We believe to wear the Australian jersey, you should have to distinguish yourself both on and off the field," he said.
Australia coach Mal Meninga selected seven uncapped players in the squad, including playmaker James Maloney and the versatile Matt Moylan, but couldn't find room for Melbourne center Will Chambers and dropped some long-serving Kangaroos veterans, including Brisbane Broncos captain Corey Parker.
Melbourne Storm and Queensland captain Cameron Smith was retained as Australia captain of a squad strong on leadership options, including Cowboys co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston.
Squad: Cameron Smith (captain), Darius Boyd, Shannon Boyd, Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk, Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Jake Friend, Tyson Frizell, Matt Gillett, Valentine Holmes, Greg Inglis, David Klemmer, James Maloney, Josh Mansour, Trent Merrin, Michael Morgan, Matt Moylan, Justin O'Neill, Josh Papalii, Matt Scott, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston, Aaron Woods.