<big>Big game beckons patient Tiger Lawrence</big>
By Ian McCullough AAP Thu, Nov 17, 2011 - 2:14 PM
Sporting four stitches in a cut forehead is nothing more than a badge of honour for Kangaroos centre Chris Lawrence as he looks ahead to the biggest game of his career. Injuries have blighted the classy Wests Tigers star’s representative chances, this year ruling him out of an almost certain State of Origin debut for NSW. The horrendous hip dislocation he suffered in round three, sidelining him for three months, had Blues coach Ricky Stuart so in need of a left centre he asked St George Illawarra veteran Matt Cooper to end his rep retirement. Arguably the best current NSW-eligible centre not to have played Origin, Lawrence was forced to pull out of the City-Country Blues trial in 2009 with an ankle injury and then missed selection for the series against Queensland.
In 2010, then-NSW boss Craig Bellamy’s policy of picking size to contain the likes of Greg Inglis cost the 23-year-old. Lawrence is nursing a minor shoulder problem ahead of the Four Nations final against England, but nothing will prevent him running out at Elland Road on Saturday.
“I think all of us are carrying a few bumps and bruises,” he said.
“But it’s a final against England, Darren Lockyer’s farewell and the most important game I’ve played in so you play through it.”
It may have been a long wait, but Lawrence has enjoyed a stellar start to his international career, with a stunning strike rate of five tries in as many games since making his Kangaroos debut against New Zealand in Auckland last year. His form on this tour has pleased coach Tim Sheens, but Lawrence admits the switch from his favoured left side to the right to accommodate the fit-again Inglis has taken some time to adjust to.
“I played a bit of right side early in my career, and we work on it in training, but it is very different in a game,” Lawrence said.
“I’ve had two games there now and I feel a lot more comfortable and confident now than I did. It’s just a matter of running different channels and getting used to running on the other side of the field with the ball.”
Lawrence will go up against Brisbane’s Jack Reed on Saturday and explosive winger Ryan Hall, whose two-try exploits against the Kangaroos and superb finish against the Kiwis last week have earned him a surprise nomination for the Golden Boot award. The Tigers strike weapon is fully expecting a tough evening when the faces the pair again at Elland Road.
“We’re well aware of their ability,” Lawrence said.
"We’ve seen what they can do. They played really well against us the first time.
“In the past, England have gone forward but haven’t been able to finish off their plays. Now they’ve got some good young halves and some outside backs, particularly Jack Reed, and Hall is a great finisher.”
It is good to see Chris’ season finishing well after a year or injury. Hope he gets the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to run hard and fast onto the ball resulting in a break and a surge for the poms tryline. Also hope to see him repeat some of those aggressive tackles which we have seen him do, ask Fui. Hope he has been practising catching the high ball. Finally all the best to him in what will be a big moment in his career so far.
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens and England coach Steve McNamara name squads for Four Nations final By Ian McCullough AAP November 18, 2011 6:46AM
The mind games ahead of Saturday’s Four Nations final were cranked up on Thursday with Australia coach Tim Sheens and his England counterpart Steve McNamara naming 21-man squads for the Elland Road decider.
Sheens has included every fit member of his squad for the game, but it’s believed Jharal Yow Yeh has the upper hand in the battle for the right-wing spot ahead of Josh Morris.
It is likely to be the only change to the side that started against England in the 36-20 win at Wembley two weeks ago.
Tony Williams is available again following his one-match suspension, and will take his place back on the bench for Darren Lockyer’s final game.
Luke Lewis has recovered from illness with Anthony Watmough and Chris Lawrence to overcome shoulder injuries and play.
Willie Tonga and Billy Slater are both unavailable due to injury.
“Gareth has trained all week very well, and we are very confident he will be fit to play,” McNamara said.
The return of Ellis could lead to heartbreak for his Wests Tigers teammate Chris Heighington who could be the man to miss out.
Heighington has been involved in all three of England’s games, but was overshadowed by Jon Wilkin’s performance against the Kiwis.
Wilkin played the full 80 minutes as Ellis’s replacement at the KC Stadium and was very impressive.
Speculation is rife among the English media that he could get the nod to start in the final over Heighington.
England: Sam Tomkins, Ryan Hall, Jack Reed, Karl Yeaman, Tom Briscoe, Kevin Sinfield, Rangi Chase, Danny McGuire, Gareth Widdop, James Graham, Garreth Carvell, James Roby, Jamie Peacock (capt), Adrian Morley, Ryan Bailey, Jon Wilkin, Ben Westwood, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett. (four to be omitted).
Australia: Darius Boyd, Jharal Yow Yeh, Greg Inglis, Chris Lawrence, Akuila Uate, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Paul Gallen, Sam Thaiday, Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough, Tony Williams, David Shillington, Keith Galloway, Cooper Cronk, Beau Scott, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Morris, Corey Parker.
It will be disappointing for Heighno if he misses out, but it would have been a great experience for him nonetheless. Massive occasion for Rowdy and Sauce though and I reckon they’ll be both have good games.
<big>Tim Sheens must walk if Kangaroos fail to win Four Nations</big>
by: James Hooper From: The Daily Telegraph November 19, 2011 12:00AM
DARREN Lockyer’s career won’t be the only one that’s finished if the Kangaroos crumble in tomorrow morning’s Four Nations final against the old enemy. Coach Tim Sheens has only lost a single game while in charge of Australia, but that happened to be the 2010 Four Nations final against New Zealand in Brisbane.
Another big-match stumble and Sheens will be gone, his 14 wins meaning little compared to the possible successive final losses.
“As Australia, you’re expected to win. That goes with the territory. And if you don’t win, then everyone wants to jump all over you,” Sheens said.
The critics did just that after the Kiwis’ shock win in Brisbane, but Sheens survived.
“I’m not going to defend my situation at all to be quite honest,” Sheens said at the time. “I’ve been offered the job and my job is to get on with it - not worry about what some people might say.”
Sheens has done exactly that this year at the Four Nations - neither speaking with or acknowledging England counterpart Steve McNamara since the tournament launch four weeks ago.
It was a different story two years ago, when McNamara visited Sheens at his Wests Tigers headquarters in Concord after being introduced by mutual friend and Penrith 1991 grand final hero Royce Simmons.
At an Elland Rd function to promote the Four Nations final this week, Sheens and McNamara completely ignored one another.
“We’ve both got business. I don’t really bother myself too much with the opposition coach at this stage,” Sheens said. “I’m sure he’s not too bothered by me. I’m sure we’ll shake hands after the game and congratulate each other on what’s been a pretty good tournament so far for both of us but we can wait for that.”
The approach has worked for both, with Australia undefeated so far at the tournament and England in the final thanks to an impressive win against the Kiwis.
McNamara admitted smashing the 41-year Australian hoodoo was a major motivation - the memory of the 2-1 1970 Ashes series win against the Australians is fading.
“There’s a whole generation of people who’ve been involved in English rugby league as players, fans and administrators who’ve not seen Australia beaten in a series in England,” McNamara said.
“We’re all fully aware of that and the responsibility of that.”
The last time Australia lost on British soil to a home team was 2004 at Wigan, with the Lions’ last victory over their old rivals coming in Sydney in 2006.
“People look at the history books and think it’s been easy but it hasn’t,” Lockyer said. “The 44-4 win in the final in 2004 was one of the best performances I’ve been involved in with the Kangaroos.”
The emotion of farewelling Lockyer aside, the Kangaroos have had a less than perfect preparation.
“We’ve had our issues with Billy Slater and Willie Tonga getting injured and Robbie Farah having to go home,” Sheens said.
"So we’ve had our fair share of injuries and other issues but we’ve managed to hold together and come up with the results so far.
"But it’s all for nothing if we can’t win this one.
“Our attitude is to just throw everything out the door as far as what we have done and realise we’re 80 minutes away from winning back the Four Nations.”
Alrighty then, home from the pub just in time to watch this game. Appologise for anny mistakes as am bok choyed.
Lets go boys smash them filthy pommies.
Heighno has missed out, shame for him…bit rough relly the other bloke has one good game and usurps him.
…and we are in! Good work from Yow yeh and Rowdy puts Thaiday over and the poms are whinging already hahahaha
haha, the commentators are already whinging about the refs, claiming Thaiday came from an offside position. They will talk about this for the rest of the game no doubt.
Lawrence denied a try! Harsh decision
Disgraceful decision robs Chrissy L of a try.
Lawrence denied a try! Harsh decision
Indeed, even the English commentators agreed we were hard done by on that play.
Who is the video ref Maggie Thatcher ?? Absolute joke
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12 point turnaround on 2 dodgy video ref decisions.
Halftime 8-6 to us…not sure if I’m watching the Kangaroos or the Tigers. We should fair dinkum be up by at least 20. Had all the field position, all the line breaks but cant score through poor handling and then let them off the hook with ill discipline.
We have easily been the better side but only have a 2 point lead. Whoever the video ref is should be investigated for match fixing. He has made some horrendous blunders including robbing Rowdy of a 100% try and then awarding them a BS penalty try. Absolute crap refereeing. Cheating I’ll call it!!!
If we complete our sets we will flog them, they just are not in the same class. Our backrow of Sam, Lewy and Watmough have thoroughly outplayed their opposites even though Ellis has been strong and Gallen is killing them. Rowdy has been strong and Galloway has played well with what he has done so far.