Grandfather to inspire Kiwis backrower - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Grandfather to inspire Kiwis backrower

By Wayne Heming 19/11/2008 04:41:37 PM Comments (0)

Bronson Harrison will be a man inspired in the rugby league World Cup final against Australia on Saturday.

Harrison was very close to his influential grandfather Joe Gwynne, who died a month before the backrower forced his way into the Kiwis' World Cup squad with an eye-catching performance for New Zealand Maoris.

Gywnne was a former New Zealand selector and respected coach in Auckland who won premierships and prepared many players for Test duty.

While Harrison has not spoken publicly about his grandfather this week in the lead up to the Suncorp Stadium finale, people close to him know how tough the loss has been form him.

Harrison's second Test was a long time coming after he debuted for New Zealand in the 2005 Tri Nations series against France but he has made his mark at the World Cup.

A surprise starter in last weekend's semi-final against England, he scored a superb try after steaming onto a nice pass at an angle that made him unstoppable.

"He's a young guy who's really grabbed his opportunity," said Kiwis coach Steve Kearney.

"He wants to learn. He's worked very hard on the training paddock and in the gym. When you have a kid so determined to do well, half your job is done."

Harrison is blocking out the final jitters as he prepares to play the game of his life for the Kiwis.

"It's been a great ride for me. I wasn't expecting anything like this and I'm fortunate it's happened," said Harrison, who is headed to the Canberra Raiders next season after an unhappy time with the Wests Tigers.

"I'm trying to keep things off my mind until game time, otherwise I wouldn't get any sleep.

"Of course the nerves will hit me, but hopefully not until game day."

Asked if the Kiwi players were sitting back enjoying everyone talking up the Aussies and saying how good they were, he said: "They are good".

But are they so good they are unbeatable?

"I don't think anyone is unbeatable, but they've got a very strong team and they playing very well, you can't deny them that," he said.

Australia was in a similar position in the 2005 Tri Nations series in England only to be belted 24-0 in the final by the Kiwis.

"We haven't talked about 2005 in camp," said Harrison.

"But reflecting back on it, they hadn't had too many losses back then but they came up with a couple.

"Maybe we can come up with one on the weekend."

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