Kearney wary of Aussie threat - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kearney wary of Aussie threat

Ian McCullough 04/11/2010 08:24:32 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney has laughed off suggestions Australia will field a weakened side ahead of Saturday's Four Nations clash in Auckland.

Kangaroos mentor Tim Sheens has named seven new faces in his side including four debutants, with newly-crowned RILF International Player of the Year Todd Carney among them.

Sheens' side have been far from convincing in their opening two matches against PNG and England and many observers believe the Kiwis look the stronger outfit ahead of the dress rehearsal for next week's final in Brisbane.

With a crowd of around 35,000 expected for the first meeting between the two nations at Eden Park since 1988, the world champions are slight favourites, but Kearney insists the game will be a huge test for his side.

"It will be a wonderful challenge for us, playing at home in front of a big crowd at Eden Park we are really looking forward to it," he told AAP.

"I have been watching the game a very long time and I don't think I have ever seen a weak Australia side, they have a number of players who are not part of the tournament through injury and they have made changes to their side today.

"But I look at their team, and I have to say it is a magnificent side.

"It is not a weak Australian side and only a fool would write them off or underestimate them."

The strength of this current New Zealand team is demonstrated by the omission of South Sydney prop Roy Asotasi from the Four Nations squad.

And with Benji Marshall and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who was named RILF international centre of the year on Wednesday, in his side, Kearney is well aware of the talent he has at his disposal.

However, he refuses to admit that his 2010 team is better than the side he helped guide to the World Cup on that memorable night at Suncorp Stadium two years ago.

"It is a totally different situation, for me it is a matter of building what Australia already has, a number of guys who are out, but still being able to put out a strong side," he said.

"For me I would love to be able to do that, I think we were lucky with injury in 2008 but I do think we have greater depth but it is a matter of building on what we already have and getting better and better."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news