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Sheens not fearing Origin flow-on
July 24, 2009 - 6:36PM
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has dismissed concerns of lingering spite when Origin rivals get together in the national squad for the end of season four-nations tournament.
The Origin series ended in ugly fashion when the last week’s supposedly dead rubber finale at Suncorp Stadium erupted in a succession of fights and tit-for-tat attacks.
Queensland centre Justin Hodges vowed to exact revenge for incidents surrounding teammate Steve Price’s concussion, while the up-and-under kick aimed at wounded NSW skipper Kurt Gidley and subsequent all-in left many with a sour taste in the mouth.
Sheens said he wasn’t anticipating any problems when the factions came together for Australia at the end of the season, the Kangaroos bidding to avenge last year’s World Cup defeat in the tournament featuring Great Britain, New Zealand and France in October and November.
“I don’t think so,” Sheens said when asked if he thought Origin hostility would linger.
"I think most football players leave things on the field.
"Certainly when they’re brought into an Australian side I’m sure they’ll be more focussed on the common enemy which will be New Zealand, England and France.
“In the past plenty of players have played for Australia with club issues with one another - I don’t think that’s going to be a real issue.”
Of bigger concern for Sheens is knowing just who will be available for the four-week tour, which kicks off with a clash against the Kiwis in London on October 24.
With the remaining seven rounds of the NRL to be followed by a four-week finals series, Sheens said planning for who would and wouldn’t be available was difficult.
But what Sheens was looking forward to most was finally getting to put his imprint on the Australian side, having largely stuck with the incumbents which sensationally lost the World Cup final to New Zealand for the rematch victory against the Kiwis in May.
“The Test at the start of the season was pretty much sticking hard to the players who had played in the previous series - there had only been a handful of rounds played and there was some guys unavailable through injury,” Sheens said.
“With a full season, the Origin series and a semi-final series yet to be played, there’s a lot of things that can happen before you start to think about a side.”
Sheens said he was likely to take a 22-man squad on tour, though he admitted he may push for an extra body to be added to guard against a rush of injuries.