Tate ruled out of World Cup final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tate ruled out of World Cup final

20/11/2008 07:18:22 PM Comments (0)

David Williams will cap a stunning 2008 with a World Cup final berth after the Manly rookie was called up to replace a desperately unlucky Brent Tate for Australia's clash with New Zealand.

Tate was ruled out of Saturday night's Suncorp Stadium finale after failing to recover from a grade two hip flexor tear suffered in last week's semi-final win over Fiji.

But Tate's pain - the final to be his first missed game of the season - is well and truly Williams' gain, `the Wolfman' on the brink of adding a World Cup medal to his Sea Eagles premiership ring, and all this after just 20 top grade games.

"I don't think he wants 2008 to end to be honest," Sea Eagles chief executive Grant Mayer said.

"It's been one hell of a journey for him and I'm sure he's buzzing inside and I just hope he can get out there on Saturday night and just show everybody how good he is."

It's been a remarkable ride for the 22-year-old Parramatta cast-off, who gained notoriety for the Ned Kelly-like beard which adorned his face during his rookie campaign.

But it was his blockbusting runs and bullocking defence which caught the eye of Test selectors, his hat-trick on debut against Papua New Guinea a fortnight ago now topped by a call-up for the tournament final.

Earlier, Australian coach Ricky Stuart said he would give Tate as much time as possible to prove his fitness, but admitted the Queensland Origin star was always facing an uphill battle.

"He's a great player and we've got the opportunity for another day and a half to make the decision," Stuart told radio station 2KY.

That decision was taken out of Stuart's hands however when scans confirmed the worst.

While Tate was ruled out, doubts remain over Paul Gallen's chances of lining up against the Kiwis with the Cronulla skipper yet to train this week due to a badly corked leg.

Stuart will make a decision after Friday's final training session with another Manly grand final hero, Anthony Watmough, on standby for Gallen.

One player who is all set to go is Billy Slater, Stuart singing the praises of the Melbourne flyer who has lit up the tournament with several electrifying displays.

He is the leading tryscorer seven tries from just three games, but Stuart said it was the intangibles which made Slater such an important figure in the side.

"I just love Billy Slater, I love the way he communicates ... the way he steers the team around, he's like another halfback for you steering the team around for you defensively and in attack," Stuart said.

"The game's about speed today and his speed is just phenomenal in regards to the way he gets to the football and the way he turns up."

Australia and New Zealand could both go into the final without having had a run at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane's big wet threatening Friday's planned training sessions at the match venue.

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