Kiwis keep Kangaroos guessing over line-up for decider
RUGBY LEAGUE: Canberra's giant young prop Shannon Boyd is itching to fill Sam Thaiday's shoes in the Kangaroos line-up for the Four Nations final against New Zealand on Monday morning (12.30am AEST) at Anfield.
Thaiday fractured his eye socket in a nasty head clash with England prop James Graham in the Kangaroos' last-start win.
Boyd had featured in all of Australia's Tests since the end of the NRL season, but missed the England game as coach Mal Meninga preferred the more agile Tyson Frizell.
"(Shannon Boyd) has played most of the trip too and was obviously disappointed to not be picked last weekend. But given a chance, he's raring to go,” Meninga said.
"It's unfortunate for Sam. But he's still a spiritual leader for us and will be important for us in the team's preparation.”
Back-rower Boyd Cordner has overcome a stomach bug and will take his place for the Kangaroos.
Utility forward Jake Trbojevic and centre Justin O'Neill were the unlucky ones to miss out.
"If you talk to the players, I think they know where they sit in this team,” Meninga said.
"There's a lot of respect there for it. Those decisions are always tough but if you're coming from an honest and sincere point of view then things will be fine.”
With coaching counterpart David Kidwell keeping the New Zealand side under wraps, Australia will not know who replaces Thomas Leuluai (jaw) at five-eighth until one hour before kick-off.
Meninga had no preference between likely playmaking options Tohu Harris and Te Maire Martin.
"Harris has obviously played there before but nothing will surprise me,” Meninga said.
"We haven't worried about it too much. It doesn't bother me.
"We know they'll be fired up so we'll have to match their commitment.”