willow last edited by
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens gives players green light to settle scores
By Andrew Webster in Leeds From: The Daily Telegraph November 10, 2009 12:00AM
THE Four Nations final between Australia and England is poised to detonate with Kangaroos coach Tim Sheen giving his side the green light to “square up” with England for some grubby tactics from their last encounter - as long as it’s legal.
Several Australian players were privately fuming after the two teams met at Wigan in the second week of the tournament because of numerous unsavoury incidents that went unnoticed by English ref Steve Ganson.
As one player told The Daily Telegraph at the time: “I hope we meet them in the final - there will be some payback.”
Now that England have reached the decider at Elland Road in Leeds this weekend, after upsetting New Zealand 20-12, retribution is firmly on the minds of some of the Australian forwards.
Sheens admitted there was some animosity between the two sides, and didn’t mind if his players used it as motivation - as long as it was within the rules.
“There is an element of that,” he said. "In saying that, I’d expect our blokes to play with discipline. You can crack a bloke with a good tackle and not a high shot and something illegal.
"What we don’t want is the penalty count to build. I don’t care who’s refereeing, if you go out there and do something stupid, you’re going to give away penalties. The first thing we have to do is win the game.
“As far as so-called get-squares, there was a bit of off-the-ball stuff (at Wigan). They’re not used to that stuff in the NRL. It really shook them.”
Sheens was castigated by England coach Tony Smith and French coach Bobby Goulding for claiming rival sides had introduced “some garbage” into their games in a bid to put the Australians off their game.
It’s a no-brainer that England will attempt to win the final through the forwards, and former England captain Paul Sculthorpe threw fuel on the fire when he said: “On paper, England have the best pack in the world.”
Sheens is being cagey about the side he’ll select, but he will be tempted to go for size to combat England’s massive pack, especially after the giant side used to beat the Kiwis. Souths-bound prop Sam Burgess played at lock against the Kiwis, with rampaging effect.
To off-set that, Brett White and David Shillington are tipped to be selected on the bench for the decider.
The coach is also wary about the soft lead-up to the game, despite rotating halves Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer with Storm playmaker Cooper Cronk at various stages of the 42-4 win over France in Paris at the weekend.
Sheens has not been happy with the cohesion between the Origin-winning halves, and is expecting more from them in the final.
“Johnathan, who is rated the world’s best halfback, has to step up and play like the world’s best halfback,” Sheens said. “He’s got to step up. As does Darren.”
There’s those words again… “step up”. It’s like a subliminal message.
Thurston and Lockyer do need to ‘step up’ because Prince, Soward and Cronk aren’t that far behind…