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Sheens says he picked a team to win

07/10/2009 05:42:24 PM Comments (0)

Australia coach Tim Sheens says he has picked a Test team of overseas "novices" with the sole aim of winning the inaugural Four Nations tournaments against Great Britain, New Zealand and France.

Still reeling from their shock World Cup defeat to the Kiwis last year, Sheens has called on seven new faces and recalled six old ones to revitalise his 24-man squad for the Kangaroo tour.

Parramatta warhorse Nathan Hindmarsh heads the list of reinstatements, along with Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne, Penrith's Trent Waterhouse, Brisbane's Sam Thaiday and Melbourne's premiership duo Cooper Cronk and Ryan Hoffman.

The Storm have six members in the Test squad, while Brisbane (four) and Penrith (four) are the next best represented NRL sides.

Stunningly, minor premiers St George Illawarra and fellow semi-finalists Gold Coast did not have any players in the squad.

Dragons winger Darius Boyd and Titans prop Luke Bailey were two of the six incumbents left out, although Bailey and Warriors prop Steve Price were unavailable due to injury.

Anthony Laffranchi, Brent Kite and Glenn Stewart were all dropped.

Penrith utility Luke Lewis is one of seven rookies, although he toured with Australia six years ago without playing a Test.

Melbourne prop Brett White, Penrith's Michael Jennings, Canberra's David Shillington, Bulldogs pair Josh Morris and Ben Hannant, and Tigers hooker Robbie Farah complete the new faces.

Sheens said he picked a versatile side to win the tournament.

"It's all about winning this particular tournament," said Sheens.

"I'm not planning a club thing here where you're blooding young blokes ... it is who is currently in form and I think they're all in form.

"It's a very novice-type squad as far as overseas experience is concerned. The backline is our strength but again they have to play to their form.

"It's about on the day and that side has been beaten, last year in the World Cup and they were beaten in the Tri Nations overseas last time they toured."

As for the snubbing of the minor premiers, Sheens said prop Michael Weyman (groin) was unavailable and the Dragons had every right to be disappointed.

"It is very disappointing I suppose for the St George club in that regard, but again you tell me who we would leave out?" he said.

Sheens could yet lose a few players to injury, with White (shoulder) and Israel Folau (ankle) his biggest concerns.

The team have medicals in Sydney on Thursday, but injured players must be fully fit by the time the team enters camp next Tuesday or Sheens will make changes.

"There are some issues with quite a number of players still so it's a long way from being finalised," he said.

"If they can't run and complete training then we have got to think about it."

Sheens however is confident Penrith's Petero Civoniceva, who has not played since a severe toe injury in State of Origin II on June 24, will be fit to tour.

Civoniceva completed a session with the train-on squad last week and as the only recognised prop in the squad with Test experience he will be a crucial member of the team.

Sheens said Civoniceva would be eased back into playing, adding that front-row depth was a concern with only four props in the squad of 24.

Hindmarsh and Brisbane's Sam Thaiday will be used in the front row even though props with strong claims such as Justin Poore, David Taylor, Nick Kenny, Luke Douglas and Nate Myles were overlooked.

"There's a 12-man interchange as well which will allow Petero to warm into the series a bit," said Sheens.

"He will probably play every game to get better, he hasn't played footy for a while."

Meanwhile Sheens said he would find a way to fit both exciting fullbacks Billy Slater and Jarryd Hayne into his team for the opening clash against the Kiwis at Twickenham Stoop Stadium on October 24.

"I think there will be a spot for both of them, but exactly where we play them and how we play them is something that I will work on," he said.

Full squad: Petero Civoniceva (Penrith), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Israel Folau (Brisbane), Paul Gallen (Cronulla), Kurt Gidley (Newcastle), Ben Hannant (Bulldogs), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta), Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne), Greg Inglis (Melbourne), Michael Jennings (Penrith), Darren Lockyer (capt, Brisbane), Luke Lewis (Penrith), Josh Morris (Bulldogs), David Shillington (Canberra), Billy Slater (Melbourne), Cameron Smith (Melbourne), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland), Trent Waterhouse (Penrith), Anthony Watmough (Manly), Brett White (Melbourne).

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