Kangaroos get serious for Four Nations - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos get serious for Four Nations

By Ed Jackson 15/10/2009 08:03:50 PM Comments (0)

Still smarting from their upset defeat in last year's World Cup final against New Zealand, Australia have got serious with their preparation for this month's Four Nations Tournament.

Veteran backrower Nathan Hindmarsh hasn't been part of the Kangaroos make-up since 2007, but says the past week has been his hardest ever in the green and gold.

"It feels like pre-season training to be honest with you," he told reporters on Thursday.

"Every day we've done conditioning - hard conditioning. The bones are a bit sore at the moment and the muscles, but hopefully it'll make us a little bit fitter than the other teams.

"This has been the hardest definitely. I've been on a few where it was kind of just get your team stuff done and don't worry about the conditioning because you're already fit enough.

"The competition's getting tighter and tighter. The Kiwis are world champs and the Poms are playing good football as well so being fit is going to help us hopefully."

The man who has been the squad's worst nightmare over the past week has been conditioner Alex Corvo and his hardline approach hasn't surprised hooker Cameron Smith, who works alongside Corvo at NRL club Melbourne.

But the Queenslander, a member of the team which lost last year's World Cup final, says that defeat is all the motivation he and his teammates need going into the tournament against the Kiwis, England and France.

"Definitely we took a lot of lessons out of what happened last year," Smith said.

"We're working really hard at the moment and that's what we need to do.

"We need to continue that overseas as well when we get over there."

Smith says the loss to the Kiwis isn't a "stain" on his representative career, but it definitely still hurts.

"It's very disappointing and the guys that were involved last year might not get another chance because it's a fairly long way away the next World Cup," he said.

"I don't think we're training any harder than what we have in the past, we're just doing it more often.

"I think Sticky (former coach Ricky Stuart) did a really good job last year. Every day of that World Cup tournament people were writing other teams off and saying we were certainties.

"We never believed that, we worked hard and the Kiwis played a very good game that night.

"Some errors crept into our game and they were too good for us.

"But this year we can't let it happen. We've got to be playing our best football every time we step onto the field."

Hindmarsh, who watched the World Cup final from the stands at Suncorp Stadium, said there was at least one positive from the result - the reinvigoration of international rugby league.

"I'm not saying it was getting boring by any chance but everyone was expecting Australia to win and that's usually what was happening," he said.

"I think it's given everyone a bit more excitement about who's going to win because they're not sure who is going to win.

"Maybe it (complacency) did, but definitely not on this tour, I don't think it's going to creep in."

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