Sheens slams favouritism accusations - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens slams favouritism accusations

Steve Jancetic 22/10/2010 04:41:43 PM Comments (0)

Australian coach Tim Sheens has hit out at accusations of cronyism in his selection of veteran winger Lote Tuqiri for Sunday's Four Nations clash against Papua New Guinea.

Tuqiri, who only joined the camp on Tuesday after original selection Jarryd Hayne dropped out with a hamstring injury, was surprisingly handed a start against the Kumuls ahead of Clive Churchill medal winner Darius Boyd.

The selection was met with cries of club favouritism, with Sheens also Tuqiri's coach at NRL level with Wests Tigers.

Working in Tuqiri's favour is the fact he is a specialist winger, with Boyd having played the entire NRL season with premiers St George Illawarra at fullback.

But Boyd was also a standout when pushed out to the wing for the Queensland Origin side, though Sheens said he felt no need to justify his selections.

"Please, you're having a go at my integrity there - no way in the world would I do that," Sheens said when asked if Tuqiri got the nod because of the pair's Tigers connection.

"The situation with the team that was selected was that it was selected for a reason - I don't want to sit here and justify why I pick players and why I don't pick players.

"Form on the park will determine if we were right and if we're not right we'll make changes.

"I'll let the football do our talking on Sunday."

With the likes of skipper Darren Lockyer, Melbourne pair Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, and ageless prop Petero Civoniceva all named to play on Sunday, the line-up is seen as Sheens' first choice 17.

But with Boyd joined on the outer by Dally M medal winner Todd Carney and NSW Origin lock Greg Bird, Sheens said there was more than enough quality on the outside looking in to keep those playing on Sunday on their toes.

"When you've got 24 players like we have, you never say what's your best side," Sheens said.

"Obviously there are a couple of positions which even if the player played poorly, he's going to stay there, butwhen you're talking about 24 players that start in their NRL side every week and star in their NRL side every week, you can't say one side's better than the other.

"I said to the guys, `you can't afford a bad Test match, you've got to play well each time or I'll be forced to go to the bench'.

"Who's playing well, who has the best form in the tournament, it could be anyone, we'll have to wait and see what we start with and what we finish with."

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