No 'dirty Kiwi play' in league Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No 'dirty Kiwi play' in league Test

By Wayne Heming 03/05/2006 07:35:29 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand coach Brian McClennan is angry at suggestions the Kiwis will "cheap shot" rookie Australian fullback Karmichael Hunt in his Test debut on Friday night.

Auckland-born Hunt, under fire for opting to play for Australia ahead of New Zealand, makes his Test debut at Suncorp as the fifth youngest player to wear the green and gold.

Few players have debuted under so much controversy as Hunt who was only 17 when he made his first grade NRL debut for Brisbane.

Players from both camps have exchanged fire over his decision, adding further spice to a Test already bubbling with emotions following last year's Tri-Nations final.

The Kangaroos are understood to have made a pact to protect Hunt from any over-aggressive play from the Kiwis in his debut.

"We play as a team and a unit," said Australian prop Mark O'Meley.

"We'll look after each other."

McClennan said his players had talked about the need to keep control of their emotions on Friday night given the niggling and the war of words this week.

"There won't be any dirty shots on Karmichael," said McClennan who fired some of his own shots at the Aussies this week for shirking their responsibilities to promote the Test by staying in Sydney until game eve.

"We're very conscious of giving away penalties when we earn ourselves some good field position.

"We'll be doing our best not to give away one penalty in the match."

"Dirty play costs you a penalty and we want to win this game."

The Kiwis were excellent in that department in their 24-0 humiliation of the Kangaroos in Leeds last November and McClennan will drum the message into them before Friday's Test.

"The last thing we would want to do is give away a silly penalty to piggyback them out of trouble," said McLennan.

"There'll be no dirty play from us.

"Having Karmichael and a few other Aussies suggest that really disrespects our Kiwi side.

"We're a very clean side and we'll always continue to be."

Australian captain Darren Lockyer said Hunt would handle whatever came his way on Friday night.

"I think he always knew when he played Origin for Australia these questions would be asked," said Lockyer.

"I think he was prepared for it a little bit but I think it's probably exceeded his expectations.

"Karmichael is very young but I know from club level he's very mature and very down to earth and I'm sure he'll handle the pressure."

The Kiwis have had their distractions with all the attention on Benji Marshall who has been insured against injury by the New Zealand Rugby league to satisfy his NRL club, Wests Tigers.

"Tigers' physiotherapist Andrew Leeds came up today and everything is fine," said McClennan.

Leeds engaged Marshall in a wrestling contest to gauge the strength in his shoulder.

"He's pleased with Benji's progress and our medical staff are really pleased with Benji's progress so he will be playing on Friday night."

The Kiwis' biggest concern continues to be captain Ruben Wiki, in line for a world record 51st Test, if he overcomes a hamstring strain.

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