Kiwis in disarray prior to Anzac Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwis in disarray prior to Anzac Test

By Brent Read 20/04/2004 05:46:07 AM Comments (0)

New Zealand's preparations for Friday night's Test were in disarray with the Kiwis losing fullback David Vaealiki, captain Ruben Wiki's place hinging on the National Rugby League judiciary and coach Daniel Anderson forced to talk down a rumoured rift with absent star Stacey Jones.

The day started badly for the Kiwis when Vaealiki - their third choice fullback - was ruled out with a rib cartilage injury, forcing Anderson to move Nigel Vagana to fullback and promote Penrith's Paul Whatuira into the starting side.

Within hours they were also facing the loss of Wiki when the Canberra enforcer was charged with a grade one reckless high tackle by NRL match review commissioner Greg McCallum for his hit on Cronulla's Jason Stevens at the weekend.

Wiki, a passionate New Zealander, announced he would fight the charge and risk a six-week suspension.

"I thought they got a bit carried away," Wiki said of the charge.

"It was just a lazy arm."

The Raiders indicated they would support Wiki, with general manager Don Furner to represent him at the judiciary on Wednesday night.

"We feel we have grounds to contest the charge," Canberra coach Matthew Elliott said.

"Simon Woolford was suspended for a high tackle earlier in the season and we certainly didn't contest that one because we thought it was appropriate.

"With this action we don't feel as though the penalty fits the offence."

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