Date: Sunday, 9th November, 2014
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Australian Kangaroos: 1 Greg Inglis 2 Josh Mansour 3 Michael Jennings 4 Dylan Walker 5 Sione Mata’utia 6 Daly Cherry-Evans 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Aaron Woods 9 Cameron Smith 10 Josh Papalii 11 Sam Thaiday 12 Greg Bird 13 Corey Parker Interchange: 14 Boyd Cordner 15 Robbie Farah 16 Aidan Guerra 17 Ryan Hoffman 18 Ben Hunt 19 David Klemmer 20 Matt Moylan
Toa Samoa: 1 Tim Simona 2 Antonio Winterstein 3 Tim Lafai 4 Joseph Leilua 5 Daniel Vidot 6 Ben Roberts 7 Kyle Stanley 8 Isaac Liu 9 Pita Godinet 10 David Fa’alogo (c) 11 Frank Pritchard 12 Leeson Ah Mau 13 Josh McGuire Interchange: 14 Dunamis Lui 15 Reni Maitua 16 Sauaso Sue 17 Mose Masoe 18 Jesse Sene-Lefao 19 Tautau Moga
The Australian Kangaroos will take on the Toa Samoa side at WIN Stadium in week 3 of the Four Nations tournament, with both sides still a chance of making the Final.
While the fate of each side may have been sealed before the tournament, both sides will still be keen to put on a strong showing, the World Champion Australians to show they still deserve that title, and the Samoans to gain their first victory.
And while the Islander team may have been expected to just make up the numbers pre-tournament, they have been unlucky to not register a win thus far, going down by just six to England and two points to the Kiwi side. The Australians know they will have to be wary, and are in danger of missing a Final of a major tournament for the first time in 60 years if they fail to lift.
The young Kangaroos squad has been their own worst enemies at times in the tournament, particularly when thrashed by New Zealand in the opening game, where they made 14 errors and missed 42 tackles. Coach Tim Sheens will be making sure they perfect the basics before anything else this week, encouraging them to keep it simple.
In their last start win against England, centre Dylan Walker tried to push the pass to winger Sione Mata’utia, and instead found touch. It will be these forced plays that Sheens will be coming down on hard.
Josh Papalli finds himself in the starting line-up for the Australians this week, with Sam Thaiday shifting to the second row to cover for Beau Scott who has succumbed to the leg injury he sustained against England.
For the Samoans, they will go into the game with nothing to lose, and with some strong form, despite being winless, will fancy themselves a strong chance at upsetting the ‘roos.
Their big forwards have been more than matching it with their opponents, and the side plays with a passion that is a breath of fresh air in international rugby league.
Much maligned five eight Ben Roberts has been enjoying the space created by his forwards and is a danger running the ball. Even more danger for the Kangaroo’s comes from Samoan hooker Pita Godinet, who scored a double against England in the first week, through crafty dummy half work. Godinet’s performances so far have seen him promoted to the start on side.
Josh McGuire has been inspirational for the Samoans, and his yardage and tackling will be crucial for his side if they are to complete an upset over the pre-tournament favourites.
Samoa will look to use their size up the middle to create both metres and offloads, before shifting the ball either side to their strike men in the centres and on the wings. Australia will have to control the offloads and the ruck area if they are to get on top of the Island nation, in what is bound to be a fast paced encounter.
While Toa Samoa deserve a win in the tournament, upsetting the world champions seems unlikely, despite their impressive tournament so far. However the Samoans will certainly test the Australians, and if the Kangaroos underestimate their opponents, they may find themselves creating an unwanted bit of history by exiting the tournament early.
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