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Injured 17: Team of unlucky stars who could win the World Cup

Johnathan Thurston's shoulder injury has kept him out of the Australian World Cup team.
Johnathan Thurston's shoulder injury has kept him out of the Australian World Cup team. DAN PELED

MORE than 300 of the world's best rugby league players will turn out for 14 nations during the World Cup.

But there's a host of stars who will be forced to watch on from the sidelines, or from the couch.

The world's best - Johnathan Thurston - headlines a star-studded list of injured players who won't be featuring in the international tournament.

In fact there's so many, foxsports.com.au has compiled an entire 17-man team - plus an extended bench - from the World Cup casualty ward.

Do you think this team could win the Cup?

*Editor's note: We've selected only players who were legitimate chances of representing their respective country. For this reason many injured players have not been mentioned.

Fullback

Greg Inglis (Australia): Ruptured his ACL at the start of the NRL season.

Wings

Darius Boyd (Australia): Hampered by hamstring problems late in the season and didn't want to be risked.

David Nofoaluma (Australia): Had an operation to remove hernias and is still recovering.

Centres

Euan Eitkan (Scotland): Underwent shoulder surgery post-season.

Dylan Walker (Australia): Dislocated and fractured his ankle in a horror incident while representing the Prime Minister's XIII.

Halves

Anthony Milford (Samoa): Underwent shoulder surgery post-season.

Johnathan Thurston (Australia): Still recovering from shoulder surgery midyear. Won't get the chance to play representative football again.

Hooker

Peter Wallace (Scotland): Battled through rib and hand injuries late in the season and has withdrawn in an effort to recover.

Props

Matt Scott (Australia): Ruptured his ACL early in the season. Was available for selection by overlooked given he hasn't played any football in months.

Tariq Sims (Fiji): Has undergone wrist cleanout surgery.

Backrowers

Chris McQueen (England): Hasn't played since undergoing neck surgery and wouldn't be risked.

Tohu Harris (New Zealand): Withdrawn to focus on recovering from niggling foot and shoulder injuries.

Trent Merrin (Australia): Injured a medial ligament in his knee late in the season. Was only a few weeks away from full fitness.

Bench

John Sutton (Fiji): Recovering from a knee injury.

Sam Kasiano (New Zealand/Samoa): Underwent shoulder surgery after the Bulldogs' final game of the season.

Sia Soliola (Samoa): Cleanout surgery on his elbow.

Sione Mata'utia (Samoa): Withdrawn to monitor concussion concerns by Newcastle.

WORLD CUP INJURED 17

1 Greg Inglis (Australia)

2 Darius Boyd (Australia)

3 Euan Aitken (Scotland)

4 Dylan Walker (Australia)

5 David Nofoaluma (Samoa)

6 Anthony Milford (Samoa)

7 Johnathan Thurston (Australia)

8 Matt Scott (Australia)

9 Peter Wallace (Scotland)

10 Tariq Sims (Fiji)

11 Chris McQueen (England)

12 Tohu Harris (New Zealand)

13 Trent Merrin (Australia)

14 Sione Mata'utia (Samoa)

15 John Sutton (Fiji)

16 Sam Kasiano (New Zealand/Samoa)

17 Sia Soliola (Samoa)

Extended squad: Tony Williams (Tonga - knee), Tautau Moga (Samoa - shoulder), Ben Flower (Wales - achilles), Keith Galloway (Scotland - achilles), Lachlan Coote (Scotland - ankle), Kane Linnett (Scotland - elbow)

Topics:  kangaroos rugby league rugby league world cup world cup

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