It's not been the greatest week in history for the touring party, soundly beaten by the Kiwis in Wellington last week, the 30 point margin of defeat leaves GB with everything to do. The storm over the departure of Sean Long from the touring party last Monday should now have subsided as the Lions look to put it all behind them and come up with the required performance.|
Ovbiously there are changes to the Lions side, with Long back in blighty Richard Horne steps into the side and takes the 7 jumper ahead of Rob Burrow. Long's departure also leaves GB short in the kicking department, with Danny McGuire (who kicked plenty in his Academy days at Leeds) expected to be first choice with Paul Wellens as back up. The return of Sean O'Loughlin at loose forward, pushes Gareth Ellis into the second row, captain Jamie Peacock up to prop and Adrian Morley back onto the bench. Martin Gleeson returns in place of Kirk Yeaman and Keith Senior switches back to the left hand centre. Garreth Carvell misses out on a place in the 17, as do Yeaman and Burrow who were named in a 20 man squad earlier in the week.
The GB side is: Wellens, Pryce, Gleeson, Senior, Raynor; McGuire, Horne; Fielden, Newton, Peacock, Hock, Ellis, O'Loughlin. Interchange: Roby, Morley, Gilmour, Wilkin.
Australia coach Ricky Stuart has also rung the changes since the 23-12 defeat to the Lions in Sydney a fortnight ago. Antonio Kafusi is set to make his test debut from the interchange bench as Andrew Ryan is promoted to the run on side to replace the suspended Willie Mason. Brent Kite and Cameron Smith are promoted into the starting line up as Jamie Lyon and Ben Hornby make way for Justin Hodges and Jonathon Thurston. Mark Gasnier is named despite a hip injury which forced his premature departure in Sydney. Shaun Berrigan was also not allowed to miss the game to be best man at brother Barry's wedding.
The Kangaroos line up is: Karmichael Hunt, Brent Tate, Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer, captain, Johnathan Thurston, Brent Kite, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Andrew Ryan, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'Donnell. Interchange: Shaun Berrigan, Anthony Tupou, Mark O'Meley, Antonio Kaufusi.
The coaches had their own opinions about Saturday's game. Ricky Stuart said "It's one of our strongest teams. We've trained well over the last four days and I think we're gradually improving," he explained. We've looked at our attention to detail more at training. We've been a little bit more intense in that area - making sure that we finish off our sets of six.
We've done a lot of repetitive training this week to try and get our attack a little bit more fluent and get the cohesion there. But if we keep turning over the amount of football we did in Sydney we won't win."
Brian Noble was confident his troops could bounce back after being labelled big underdogs, "I don't think there are such things at this level of football. What we're fully aware of and what we understand is Australia are a pretty good team. But we think we are too. It's pretty obvious that what we did last week wouldn't bring home the spoils this week. We've reinforced the beliefs of the way that we should play and the kind of things that we should do. It's important that we do change from last week but a mental shift as well will help us."
The game will be held at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, built on the original site of Lang Park the redeveloped stadium hosted its first game on 1 June 2003 when the Brisbane Broncos took on the Newcastle Knights. As well as hosting the Broncos, Suncorp is the home of the Queensland Origin side alongside Super 14 outfit Queensland Reds and A-League side Queensland Roar. The ground has 52,500 seats and around 40,000 of these have been sold for Saturday. Great Britain have yet to play there since the Stadium redevelopment and haven't won a test at Lang Park or in Brisbane since a 17-10 victory on the 1962 tour.
The game kicks off at 10am in the UK and will be televised live on SKY SPORTS.