Kiwis make Four Nations final personal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwis make Four Nations final personal

Laine Clark 11/11/2010 04:41:58 PM Comments (0)

This time it's personal, according to New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney.

Desperate to atone following last week's disappointing loss at Eden Park, the Kiwis claim they have left no stone unturned ahead of Saturday night's Four Nations final against Australia at Suncorp Stadium.

"It's very personal this week with our guys," Kearney said.

"To a man last week they were very disappointed with their performance.

"They have made it an important part of preparation this week that they understand what they need to do on Saturday night.

"It is their responsibility."

Not that Australian skipper Darren Lockyer had to be reminded.

He said New Zealand's 34-20 defeat in front of their home fans may yet work against the Kangaroos this weekend.

"For us it was not such a good thing," Lockyer said.

"It was good for our confidence but at the same time New Zealand will work a lot harder this week and will play better.

"We realise we will come up against a much more committed team this week."

Some magic from New Zealand skipper Benji Marshall gave the Kiwis a strong finish in last weekend's loss, ensuring they took some momentum into the Four Nations final.

But Australian coach Tim Sheens hinted that Marshall shouldn't take too much confidence out of the late point spree.

"We controlled him well for 60 minutes and then things started to change, I think everyone started thinking about this weekend," Sheens said.

"They got their hands on the ball more and started putting on some points which is a worry but it is probably a good thing.

"It reminded us that if we are not on the job we know dangerous they can be."

Despite his strong showing, Marshall later described his performance as "embarrassing" and personally apologised to his teammates.

"I am an integral part of the team and my job is a major factor in how the game goes," Marshall said.

"I am not worried about what any one else is doing - I have just got to do my job.

"I have high expectations and when I don't meet those expectations sometimes I am embarrassed and I was embarrassed after last week's game."

Marshall will again look to take it on himself to lift the Kiwis against overwhelming favourites Australia.

But Kearney did not believe the Wests Tigers playmaker was putting too much pressure on himself.

"All we need Benji to do is his job," Kearney said.

"If the other members of their team do their job it makes Benji's a lot easier."

Sheens - who coaches Marshall at NRL club Wests Tigers - didn't exactly have to go to the video tape to know what to expect from the livewire pivot on Saturday night.

"I know Benj pretty well. I know what he will do," he said.

"He will run more, and our job will be try and stop him from running more."

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