After last Saturday's disastrous 42-26 defeat to the Kiwis, it's left Great
Britain with a mountain to climb and the Black and Whites with almost one
foot in the final. GB coach Brian Noble will be making changes to the 17 from
last week, Nick Fozzard is left out as is Rob Burrow. Jon
Sharpe, assistant to Noble, said of the Burrow omission "We're just looking
at a different direction and at the threats the Australians present. Australia
are a very different proposition to the Kiwis so we've changed accordingly."
Iestyn Harris comes into the team to partner Paul Deacon in the halves.
Adrian Morley makes the run on side in the front row. Captain Jamie Peacock
moves into the second row and Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield taking over at
loose forward in place of club colleague Gareth Ellis, who is fighting for
one of the spots on interchange. Noble has named 5 players on the bench,
Jamie Thackray looks certain to get one of the spots and its between Ellis,
Micky Higham, Lee Gilmour and Chev Walker for the other three spots.|
Vice-Captain Brian Carney somehow keeps his place in the team after his
horror showing last week at Loftus Road. Carney was relieved to keep his
place, earlier in the week he spoke about his traumatic time last weekend.
no substitute for the experience of a match, and I'm hoping that debacle
will help me. If we were boxers and you lost, it might be six months before
you fight again. But I have the opportunity to put it right on Saturday.
Getting dropped did cross my mind, but that's testament to the players that
we've got in the squad. You'd be a bit more worried if you had a shocker and
you thought you were still guaranteed to start the next week." There must
be a good spirit in the camp as most of the squad have got behind the
Irishman, most notably Kevin Sinfield, who used his BBC column to back
The GB Team is: P Wellens (St Helens); B Carney (Wigan), Martin Gleeson
(Warrington), K Senior (Leeds), L Pryce (Bradford); I Harris (Bradford), P
Deacon (Bradford); S Fielden (Bradford), K Cunningham (St Helens), A Morley
(Sydney Roosters), P Johnson (Bradford), J Peacock (Bradford, capt), K
Interchange (from): M Higham (St Helens), J Thackray (Hull), L Gilmour (St
Helens), G Ellis (Leeds), C Walker (Leeds).
Australia arrived in the UK last Friday after their opening two matches in
the competition which saw a first defeat to the Kiwis in Sydney for 51 years
and a narrow two point win in Auckland the week after. Unlike the Kiwis, the
Australians have had a week off and plenty of time to get settled down at
their Manchester base after taking in last Saturday's game at Loftus Road.
The Kangaroos are forced into one change after Andrew Johns was ruled out of
the tour after picking up a knee injury in the Auckland game and his place
goes to the debut making West Tigers captain Scott Price. Willie Mason and
Nathan Hindmarsh are called up to the 18 man squad. Coach Wayne Bennett
named his team on Tuesday but like Noble has picked a 5 man interchange, of
which one player will be left out on Saturday. The one department the Australians have
been poor in is goal kicking. I'd expect Craig Fitzgibbon to have the first
go on Saturday with captain Darren Lockyer on standby.
Australia line up as follows: A Minichiello (Sydney Roosters); M King
(Melbourne), M Gasnier (St George Illawarra), M Cooper (St George
Illawarra), B Tate (Brisbane); D Lockyer (Brisbane, capt), S Prince (Wests
Tigers); S Price (NZ Warriors), D Buderus (Newcastle), P Civoniceva
(Brisbane), L O'Donnell (North Queensland), C Fitzgibbon (Sydney Roosters),
B Kennedy (Manly).
Interchange (from): T Barrett (St George Illawarra), J Ryles (St George
Illawarra), M O'Meley (Canterbury), W Mason (Canterbury), N Hindmarsh
So what do I think? Easy, Great Britain don't have a prayer to be honest.
There were some rumblings from the players last week that they had not had a
warm up game to get used to each other but the simple fact they could not
put a jet-lagged New Zealand side away was very poor indeed. Although they
have now had a game together Great Britain do not simply have the players to
compete with the Kangaroos. Australia's forward pack this year looks even
more intimidating with Steve Price in it and with Jason Ryles and Shrek
O'Meley to come off the bench, Wayne Bennett goes for the trusted 2 prop
forwards on the bench unlike Noble. I just think that Australia have too
much class in every department for Great Britain and this will be reflected
on the scoreboard.
My prediction Great Britain 4 Australia 28
If you haven't got a ticket for the game at Wigan then don't bother turning
up, the house full signs are up. The game has a 6.15pm kick off and is live
on SKY Sports 1 from 6pm. For any Australian readers, TV Coverage starts on
Channel 9 from 5am Sunday morning.