NZ tips Australia for Four Nations title - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ tips Australia for Four Nations title

By Steve Mascord 09/11/2009 09:57:51 AM Comments (0)

England may have toppled world champions New Zealand but Australia will be "too good" for the host nation in this weekend's Four Nations rugby league final, according to Kiwis halfback Nathan Fien.

As the Kiwis prepared for the long journey home, members of the touring party were still picking over the bones of Saturday night's surprise 20-12 loss to the English at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium.

"They're going pretty well. I don't know how they'll go against the Aussies though," St George Illawarra's Fien said of Tony Smith's England side.

"I think the Aussies will be a bit too good.

"(England) have got a young side too. They showed a lot of enthusiasm but they still had the likes of (Adrian) Morley and those big guys leading them forward all night."

Fien said the Kiwis died at their own hand, with a fumble from the restart after their 44th minute try indicative of their misfiring evening.

"We've been together for about five weeks now and that was probably our worst performance - it was really disappointing," he said.

"We were too far off the pace. They just got us around the rucks and their field position built up. I thought, when we scored that try in the second half, we could turn it around but I guess it's a credit to their defence. They held really strong.

"We just couldn't get anything going."

He said the mood in the dressing sheds at fulltime on Saturday was "a little bit emotional".

"A lot of hard work goes into all the preparations (by) the coaches behind the scenes, the medical staff. It was really just thanking everyone.

"We had a number of debutants throughout the tournament. It was just thanking those guys for putting their hands up and everyone did New Zealand proud.

"But with Papua New Guinea and Wales winning southern and northern hemisphere competitions held concurrently with the Four Nations and the World Cup holders failing to make the final, Fien said international league had never been in such a strong position.

"It's good that international rugby league's getting stronger," he said.

"France put a number of good performances together, as well. They showed a lot of spirit and I've heard they had seven or eight players out as well.

"It's only good for rugby league."

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