Australia v Scotland: Rugby League World Cup
COVENTRY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 21: Nathan Cleary of Australia looks to pass during Rugby League World Cup 2021 Pool B match between Australia and Scotland at The Coventry Building Society Arena on October 21, 2022 in Coventry, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The uncertainty over Mal Meninga's halves pairing for the World Cup knockout stages will continue to reign a little while longer after the coach opted to name both Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans in his preliminary 19-man squad for the quarter-final clash with Lebanon.

It's a decision akin to that made by Bob Fulton nearly 30 years ago, when he decided to play with both Ricky Stuart and Allan Langer in the team, utilising one off the bench.

Though it's not yet confirmed that both halves will take a place in the final 17, Meninga is still playing coy and admits it's a very real possibility.

ENGLAND - 1994/95: Allan Langer of the Australian Kangaroos poses for a photo during a Photocall during their upcoming tour of Great Britain. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“I think (Fulton) picked both of them (Langer & Stuart) initially, so I might take that trick on board and see what happens," he said.

“I was there and it was a tough decision.”

Increasing the likelihood of both being selected, Ben Hunt has been rested after starting all three group stage games, meaning Harry Grant will play at dummy-half without a clear replacement – though Cherry-Evans spent time in the role at training during the week.

In other team news, Patrick Carrigan will start at prop after Parramatta Eels big man Reagan Campbell-Gillard was reported to have suffered a ‘severe cork'.

“All 24 players have been outstanding so far in the tournament,” Meninga said.

“It's extremely difficult to leave any player out.

“We've reached the knockout stages of the tournament and we need to ensure we have consistency in the squad and in the positions."