Get behind Kangaroos, pleads Cam Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Get behind Kangaroos, pleads Cam Smith

By Steve Jancetic 31/10/2008 07:42:20 PM Comments (0)

Test hooker Cameron Smith has questioned the patriotism of Australians barracking for England in Sunday's World Cup match-up in Melbourne.

Upset with suggestions the tournament - and international rugby league in general - would be best served by an Australian loss, Smith called on fans to embrace the Kangaroos era of dominance.

"If you start getting sick of winning then there's something wrong with you really - you should enjoy your nation winning," Smith said.

"When you want your country to lose, there's something wrong with you - you've got to have look in the mirror and have a look at what your saying.

"We certainly don't get sick of playing good football and winning games."

Australian coach Ricky Stuart has spent plenty of time before and during the campaign instructing his players to ignore talk of the World Cup being a one horse race.

Unfortunately last week's comfortable win over world No.2 New Zealand only added to expectations of a World Cup romp, but Smith said the group was remaining focussed.

"Our goal is to win the competition and to win all our matches," he said.

"We'd like a close competition as well (but) we can't control what the other teams dish out with the way they play.

"We certainly don't believe that it's a one horse race."

The race would certainly get a whole lot more interesting should anything happen to Smith during the remainder of the tournament, the Australian No.9 now the most crucial member of the Kangaroos World Cup squad.

With utility Kurt Gidley ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a knee injury, Smith is now the only regular hooker within the 23-man group.

Brisbane fullback Karmichael Hunt - who has been added to the bench for Sunday's clash with England - is likely to spend some time at dummy half while Test No.1 Billy Slater is another hooking option.

But any chance Smith had of being rested for a game later in the tournament now appears dashed.

"I was sort of thinking that way that if we won these first two matches that he'd probably let Kurt have a full game (against Papua New Guinea next weekend) at nine, but I think I'll be packing down in the middle now," Smith said.

"At the end of the day we've had a big season before this tournament started and we've got to play another five games hopefully - it could really take it out of us at the end.

"If there's chance to give guys short breaks then we'll continue to do that but if not I'll be more than happy to stay out there for the whole game."

Australia will have their second and final training run at Telstra Dome on Saturday morning where a decision is expected on halfback Johnathan Thurston's availability.

Thurston has been hampered by a shoulder injury picked up in the win over the Kiwis with Saturday's practice set to be his first contact session of the week.

England coach Tony Smith said the Lions were preparing as if Thurston would play.

"I'll be surprised if he doesn't," Smith said.

"If we've got to make an adjustment there we'll make an adjustment."

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