RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone Wallaby Chelsea Baker has not been named in the Australian Jillaroos team which opens its World Cup campaign against Cook Islands in Sydney today from 3pm.
But Baker will take on England on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with The Gladstone Observer, Jillaroos coach Brad Donald is adamant it's just a part of the rotation process and Baker will return to the line-up in Sunday's 12.45pm blockbuster against England at Shark Park.
"(It was) not too difficult really and what we've done is and most people probably don't see this from the outside, but we're planning on a really tough game against England on Sunday," Donald said of the selection process.
"We've got a tremendous squad of 24 and it's allowed us to rest seven of our top 13 players for today's match.
Baker joins co-captain Ruan Sims, Renae Kunst, Heather Ballinger and Elianna Walton as spectators today.
But Donald said it's part of the rotation plan to have his team in peak form for Sunday's showdown against the Poms.
"If we picked a one to 17, they'd be in our top 17, but because the 24 is so solid, it will allow us the ability to rest seven of those players and make sure we've got seven of our best ready to play against England," Donald said.
Today will be an opportunity for Donald and the rest of the Jillaroos' coaching staff to shuffle the team around while at the same time not to under-estimate the Cook Islanders.
"We will see players play in positions so that we just have to make sure that we are ready for every scenario that the World Cup throws at us with injury and short turnaround," he said.
"We're reasonably confident against the Cooks who are going to be very strong, but like I said we've got great faith in the whole squad of 24 and by the second match, every player would have played."
Donald said Baker will be ready for Sunday.
"She will be one of those players that we wanted to have 100 per cent right for Sunday and she had a bit of a niggling neck injury," he said.
Donald said the two-day's rest will have Baker primed.
Baker's training camp has been flawless according to Donald.
"She's been fantastic and I think anybody who has followed her journey would realise how committed she's been and how hard she's worked," Donald said.
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