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Slater ready to fire

Laine Clark 03/05/2011 04:02:08 PM Comments (0)

There will be no lack of motivation for Australia when they line up against shock Four Nations conquerors New Zealand at Skilled Park on Friday night.

But Test fullback Billy Slater reckons their surprise loss to the Kiwis in Brisbane last year will not be a factor.

Just like they did in the 2008 World Cup decider, the Kiwis threw the form book out the window and upstaged Australia thanks to Nathan Fien's late match-winner last November.

Barely six months later, the result still upsets Slater.

But the Kangaroos dangerman believed revenge would not be their focus when they ran out onto Suncorp Stadium.

"Both countries have done it tough with natural disasters in the last six months - there's motivation there," Slater said on Tuesday.

"It was disappointing to lose (the Four Nations) the way we did but we can't change that.

"For the players who were there it will be in the back of their minds but we will focus on our performance this week."

Innisfail-bred Slater knows only too well the devastation the Queensland floods inflicted in January.

He was clearly moved by their plight - and hinted it may yet kick-start his season after surprisingly claiming he was far from his best despite being one of the first picked for the trans-Tasman Test.

"I still feel there is a lot of improvement in my execution of plays," he said.

"The effort is there but there is a lot of tidying up to do.

"I don't feel like I have had my best game this year - I still feel I have a lot to work on."

It sounded like an ominous warning to New Zealand - but Slater was the one who sounded wary despite the Kiwis' horrid mid-year Test record.

New Zealand have only one win - at North Harbour in 1998 - from 11 mid-year matches and have never tasted victory on Australian soil.

But Slater said: "It's just a stat.

"Whichever way they go they are going to be a tough team to beat.

"They have a fair bit of depth these days and with their halves in (Kieran) Foran and (Benji) Marshall they are going to be dangerous all over the paddock.

"That (mid-year record) might be something that they (New Zealand) look towards to try and inspire them but certainly not us."

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