Full-strength Kangaroos Raring To Go
Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith and coach Mal Meninga have agreed that Australia will be full strength for the first time this Four Nations campaign when they face a desperate England outfit on Monday morning (AEDT).
It follows news that veteran forward Sam Thaiday has been passed fit after he completed the captain's run at London's Olympic Stadium.
Thaiday had been in doubt all week following the Kangaroos' last-start win over the Kiwis but will play club coach Wayne Bennett's England outfit.
Scotland's shock draw with New Zealand ensured Australia's spot in the Four Nations final at Anfield on November 20.
A win for England will mean they will face the Kangaroos again next weekend.
"[Thaiday's inclusion] is important for us. He's in our best 17 and he's had a great tour so far. He's great for the squad with the type of character he is," Smith said.
"The most important thing is that he's a great footy player. [The captain's run] clarified the position of where he's at and he'll be ready to go.
"We knew our plans for the tournament before we left Australia – that everyone would have the opportunity to play. That's happened. We want to pretty much put our full strength team out on the park this game," he added.
"Now knowing we're in the final it'll be good practice heading into next week."
Meninga echoed Smith's sentiments but couldn't help but address some hard luck stories within his squad.
Meninga also clarified his position over picking Dragons utility Tyson Frizell on the bench over Raiders prop Shannon Boyd, who up until this weekend had played every Test this tournament.
"My belief is we've picked our best team. Shannon Boyd was unlucky to miss out. Justin O'Neill's been good and Matt Moylan had a terrific game against Scotland. But tough decisions had to be made," Meninga said.
"Tyson's form has been exceptional and he offers us plenty from the bench. As does Shannon but we had to make the tough decision to choose an agile player who has a bit of versatility both in the middle and on the edges."
London has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Kangaroos over the past few decades however.
Three losses to England at the old Wembley Stadium in the early 1990s and a draw with New Zealand at the 2009 Four Nations remain on Smith's mind in particular.
Coincidentally Australia haven't lost to England since the 1995 World Cup group stages but doesn't mean Smith is any less worried.
"Traditionally the Kangaroos haven't done so well in London," Smith said.
"History shows we haven't had good results here. This side will be out to change that."
This article first appeared on NRL.com