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'Do or Die' Time for GB
Posted by southstander on November 04 2005 - 06:41:58

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By Guest

It's game four of the 2005 Gillette Tri-Nations and the series returns to the Rugby League heartlands, as Great Britain take on the current holders Australia at the Pie Dome on Saturday night.

Victory would give GB a shot at the Final, but defeat would leave the home side needing a miracle.

We preview the game here.

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. "There's 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 Carney.

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 Sinfield (Leeds).

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 (Parramatta).

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.

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