Kangaroos ready for painful Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos ready for painful Test

Steve Jancetic 23/10/2010 05:57:28 PM Comments (0)

He's represented Australia more than any other forward in the rugby league history but Petero Civoniceva's one and only clash against Papua New Guinea nine years ago still stands out.

It's why the 34-year-old 40-Test veteran won't have a bar of those forecasting a walk in the park for Australia on Sunday when the Kangaroos open their Four Nations account against the Kumuls at Parramatta Stadium.

"One of my first Test matches was against PNG up at Port Moresby and I'll never forget it purely for the fact of how sore I was after the game," Civoniceva said of the 2001 encounter, which Australia won 54-12.

"Just that physical style that they play - everyone knows what's coming (on Sunday) and we just have to make sure that we turn up with the right attitude and be prepared to take them on physically as well.

"All I know is that they are very tough men and they tackle hard."

Of biggest concern to those fearing a thumping which could do more damage to international rugby league's credibility than any Sam Thaiday shoulder charge could hope to do to a hapless Kumuls opponent is PNG's ability to tackle hard for the entire 80 minutes.

With skipper and Cronulla hooker Paul Aiton the only fulltime player in the side, the rugby league minnows will be seriously up against it trying to stay with the Kangaroos, with bookmakers offering the Kumuls 52.5 points start.

"52 and a half's a fair start - I don't know if we'll run that down," said Kangaroos enforcer Paul Gallen.

"They know what they're doing, I don't think we're that much better than them.

"They're tough, they're relentless, they just keep coming."

Being a Sharks teammate of Aiton, Gallen has little doubt where Australia's main danger lies.

"He's the one we've got to watch, he's going to want to do everything and if we can shut him down its going o go a long way towards us playing well," Gallen said.

"He's going to want to lead and inspire them."

With PNG's side mostly made up of players from the local competition back home and park football in Australia, the Kangaroos' biggest danger on Sunday will no doubt be themselves.

Of the starting 13, seven players haven't played since the completion of the NRL regular season almost two months ago, while none of the three-quarter line has ever played a Test together except for Brent Tate and prodigal son Lote Tuqiri's sole appearance side by side in 2002.

"I think that's going to be an issue for sure," Civoniceva said of the prospect of rustiness within the side.

"But we've trained really well this week. Tim's (coach Tim Sheens) been on our case a bit making sure that we're all individually accountable for our performances ... there's a lot of competition for spots and no-one's safe.

"I think in the back of everyone's minds they just want to get out here and have a really strong performance just to ensure they're there the following week."

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