Strong start could help stop Lions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Strong start could help stop Lions

By Brent Read 23/11/2004 09:36:47 PM Comments (0)

Australia has pinpointed a fast start as the key to halting Great Britain's momentum and maintaining their 30-year stranglehold over the Lions in Saturday night's Tri Nations rugby league final at Elland Road.

Coach Wayne Bennett named a 19-man squad for the decider, recalling Darren Lockyer, Brent Tate and Ben Kennedy and omitting Scott Hill from the side which lost to Great Britain two weeks ago.

Bennett also confirmed halfback Craig Gower's tour was over due to the groin injury which has stopped him playing in recent weeks.

Of more concern to the Australians was working out how to stop the momentum building behind the Great Britain side.

They finished on top of the Tri Nations table and swept an international awards ceremony in Leeds - captain Andy Farrell took home the prestigious Golden Boot awarded to the world's best player and Brian Noble was named coach of the year.

"It's a factor," Bennett said.

"You like to go into these games with things working for you.

"You kind of got that message that this is their moment, this is their hour, it all comes down to Saturday and if we don't win we're a total mob of failures and if we do we're the champions, the greatest things since sliced bread.

"There's no in-betweens really." Prop Shane Webcke believes Australia can put the home side back on its heels with a good opening, something they've struggled with in recent weeks.

"What we need to be thinking primarily about is our first 10 or 15 minutes, which hasn't been great," he said.

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