Mason ready for Kiwi test

Willie Mason, Australia's most talked about sportsman, is expecting another brutal encounter this weekend when the Kangaroos take on the Kiwis in Melbourne in the second Tri Nations match on Saturday.

    Mason is still showing the effects of the David Kidwell shoulder which floored the 120 kilo prop and left him with a large black eye.
      
    The giant Bulldogs enforcer, who thrives in the role of pantomime villain, incensed the New Zealanders who claimed he showed a lack of respect to their traditional pre-game haka.

    But he claimed he was feeling ready for the next Test.
      
    "I haven't got that good a memory in the first place, it's getting better every day," Mason said Thursday.
      
    "The doc says it was a pretty bad concussion and he's been around for a while so I'll take his advice."
      
    He said he was ready for whatever the Kiwi pack dished up at  Melbourne's Docklands stadium.
      
    The Kiwis defence of their trophy was let down last week by a string of handling errors New Zealand coach Brian McClennan admits the Kiwis improve dramatically if they are push the Australians on home soil.  

    "We've got to improve in a lot of areas, particularly our shape  in attack and provide more options for our playmakers," McClennan  said Thursday.
      
    "We don't play together much and our pivots need to get to know  each other. That's one of the benefits Australia does have.
      
    "(Australia's) timing was a little bit out (as well) but gee  they've got so much talent out wide."
      
    Sydney Roosters forward Anthony Tupou will make his Test debut  for the Kangaroos, replacing lock forward Reni Maitua, who has been  ruled out of the series with an ankle injury.
      
    Andrew Ryan moves into the Kangaroos starting side in the second  row, while Tupou has been named to make his international debut off  the interchange bench.
      
    Great Britain enter the tournament against New Zealand in  Christchurch on October 28.
      
    Australia - Karmichael Hunt; Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Justin  Hodges, Greg Inglis; Darren Lockyer (captain), Jonathan Thurston;  Willie Mason (No.8), Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva; Andrew Ryan,  Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'Donnell (No.13). Interchange: Mark O'Meley,  Shaun Berrigan, Anthony Tupou, Brent Kite.
      
    New Zealand - Brent Webb; Shontayne Hape, Iosia Soliola, Steve  Matai, Manu Vatuvei; Nigel Vagana, Stacey Jones; Ruben Wiki  (No.8/captain), Dene Halatau, Roy Asotasi, David Kidwell, Tony  Puletua, Simon Mannering (No.13). Interchange: Jerome Ropati, Nathan  Cayless, Adam Blair, David Fa'alogo.
      
    Referee: Ashley Klein (GBR)

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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