Every week, FOGS director and Australian Rugby League team manager Gavin “Jed” Allen will be filing his account of life inside the Kangaroos camp. Here is his second instalment, after Australia’s win over England at AAMI Stadium in Melbourne. Stay tuned to fogs.com.au for Jed’s Kangaroo Diary during the course of this year’s Four Nations tournament.
The Kangaroos are busy packing up this morning getting ready to fly out of Melbourne for New Zealand, and next weekend’s game against the Kiwis.
The boys are all feeling pretty good after the win over England, although I reckon everyone knows that the Aussie boys still haven’t really hit their straps, even though we’ve had two pretty convincing wins.
The morning papers were carrying stories about how Tim Sheens and the Kangaroos coaching staff were angry about the way the team performed, and that is why Sheensy dragged the Emus – the blokes who haven’t played a game yet – out for a training session in the rain after the game at AAMI Stadium.
The truth is a little bit different though.
The reason for the training session was actually to “synchronise” the squad a bit better, and bring the Emus into line with the schedule of the Kangaroos.
Because of the playing schedule, and recovery sessions and things like that, the Emus are often running on a different training schedule from the blokes playing the games.
So that training session was just about getting the Emus back on the same page, meaning they could get their session out of the way, enjoy the evening with the rest of the boys and not have to worry about getting up and getting flogged at training the next day.
This way, they can participate in the recovery session with the guys that played, and bring the squad all together.
It makes good sense. And it also helps from a camaraderie point of view, because then everyone feels like they are part of the one squad, and not split into two groups.
Still, Tim did say in the press conference after the game that there would be changes for this weekend’s game against the Kiwis, and I don’t have any doubts there will be.
I will be really interested to see what teams are names for the game, because there is going to be a fair bit of ducks-and-drakes being played I reckon, given the two teams are going to meet again in the final.
I will be very surprised if either coach gives away too much about the make-up of his team for the Four Nations final, so it is going to be interesting to see what they come up with.
From the Aussies’ point of view, I guess it will be a good opportunity for the guys who haven’t played a game yet to get out there and show what they have got. If they can produce big performances, maybe they will be able to force their way into the team for the final.
New Zealand will be thinking the same way I reckon. That is why this game is going to be anything from a dead-rubber before the final.
We had a look at the Kiwis put Papua New guinea to the sword on Saturday night. I guess there weren’t really a lot of surprises there. We know the Kiwis are a red-hot team, and they’ve got some great players.
The big lesson for us out of the game though was probably watching how ruthless New Zealand was in its performance. They obviously had the game well won, but there was no shutting off for them. They kept the foot on the throat for the whole game.
That is something we will be watching closely over the next two weeks.
Speaking of the Papuans, I can tell you that Kangaroos lock Paul Gallen has picked himself up a new nickname.
The boys are calling him “the White Kumul”, seeing as Gal is the only one with a stocky-enough frame that could measure up to those hard-hitting Papuans.
Anyway, got to get packing. Catch you soon.