Kangaroos can thrash Kiwis again: Stuart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos can thrash Kiwis again: Stuart

By Todd Balym 06/05/2008 06:34:09 PM Comments (0)

Australian coach Ricky Stuart believes his star-studded side have the potential to hand New Zealand another belting on Friday, but still rates the Centenary Test as their biggest challenge under his tenure.

The Kangaroos have been installed as $1.18 favourites for the SCG Test and will give New Zealand ($4.50) 16.5 points start on the line betting, showing just how superior the Australian side are rated.

But while Stuart knows his men could replicate their 58-0 thumping of New Zealand from Wellington last October, he quickly points out the danger of tackling a scorned Kiwis side now with former Australian mentor Wayne Bennett as an assistant coach.

"Meeting a team such as New Zealand on Friday night is a very difficult situation, we're expected to take to the park and win easy," said Stuart.

"I think we've got a football team there that can do that, but if the attitude and preparation is not 100 per cent it won't happen.

"This Test match I think will be one of the biggest challenges this team has had for the last three or four years.

"I know that we're now back at No.1 in the world in rugby league and playing a football team that is very desperate to save some face and get some credibility back in regards to last year's results.

"We're expected to take the field and win by how many.

"It's a danger game for us if we are 10 per cent off in regards to preparation and attitude.

"A danger game if we're playing against a football team that can play a little bit of touch football. They can come out and have nothing to lose. We have got everything to lose, they have got everything to gain."

Stuart lectured his players on complacency at the start of the team camp on Sunday night, but knows after last year's mauling there is now a culture among his Kangaroos not to treat international matches lightly.

When he assumed the Kangaroos coaching job in 2006, successor to Wayne Bennett after Australia's upset Tri Nations defeat to the Kiwis, Stuart felt the side had lost the passion to wear the green and gold.

But he says the side are now as passionate as ever to represent their country and they've developed a trademark of fighting to the death regardless of the scoreline.

"We had a trademark in the way our teams played two years ago set and it's a benchmark for every Australian player to live up to," he said.

"It's the way we want to be perceived. It's very, very hard for footballers and for staff to keep preparing a team that feels as though they just have to take the field to win.

"I think there was a little bit of passion lost in the Australian jumper (two years ago). I promise you there is a lot of passion for the jumper we wear today.

"Last year when we won 58-0 I commended the players on how much of their application and their attitude towards that victory was.

"We had a chance at 26-0 at halftime where we could have taken our foot off the pedal ... they had every right and could have backed off a little bit but they didn't.

"They showed that real ruthless attitude that we have to keep on having if we want keep number one in the world."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news