Thu 28 November
Having dispatched of their opponents in fine style in the weeks leading up to the Final, the Australia squad for Saturday's final hurdle has been announced, and it includes Billy Slater, who was injured in the Kangaroos' Quarter-Final win over USA.
Australia forward Matthew Scott says his team is facing a week of tough preparation ahead of their clash against New Zealand in the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Final on Saturday.
Scott does not think that their semi-final result – or any previous form – will count ahead of Saturday’s showcase, despite Australia’s combined score reading 210-2 from four games since their opening match against England.
“We have got to really knuckle down this week,” said Scott. “We will keep working on our defence. We can’t take the scoreline from our game against Fiji into too much consideration.
“We’ll have to prepare really well this week. We will do our homework on the Kiwis and come out against them as strong as we can.
“I thought it went pretty well against Fiji, we kept our defensive focus and to keep another team to nil was pretty good.
“The defence has been good throughout the tournament. We conceded a couple of easy tries against England early on but since then we spoke about improving in that area, and to our credit, we have.
“But we are going to have to be a lot better in all areas to beat New Zealand. We are coming up against top opposition now and against Fiji I think we lost our way a little bit with some of our plays.”
Scott feels that their World Cup final opponents will have benefitted from a titanic encounter with host nation England in the other Big Hit semi-final at Wembley last weekend, though does not want to read too much into Australia’s opponents.
“New Zealand had a tougher game and they showed they can grind out a win” said Scott. “When you’re preparing for a World Cup final that’s probably the best preparation you can have.
“We have had relatively straightforward games against USA and Fiji, but New Zealand were put to the test and that should benefit them on Saturday.
“I think having a tougher test would have been better for us but I don’t think it will make too much of a difference. You can’t look back too much on these games, you have just got to take what you can out of it.”
RLWC2013 reaches a climax on Saturday at Old Trafford, Manchester, where New Zealand face Australia in front of an expected capacity crowd at 2.30pm.
All general tickets have now been sold but hospitality packages are still available by contacting the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 8472013.
Squad: Cameron Smith, Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cooper Cronk, Andrew Fifita, Jarryd Hayne, Paul Gallen, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris, Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matthew Scott, Billy Slater, James Tamou, Brent Tate, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.