Kiwis make two changes for Final

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney today confirmed two changes to the Kiwis’ starting line-up for Saturday night's Four Nations final against the Kangaroos at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium. <BR><BR>Greg Eastwood, used off the bench in last weekend's 20-34 loss at Eden Park, will make his 17th Test appearance, joining the experienced Adam Blair as a starting front rower. <BR><BR>And Bronson Harrison, 18th man in Auckland, is reunited with the seasoned Simon Mannering in the second row. <BR><BR>Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Sika Manu, who both started at Eden Park, have been named on a seven-man bench. Listed in jersey No 17 today is Penrith prop Sam McKendry, the players’ player of the day when making his Test debut in the 76-12 win against Papua New Guinea in Rotorua on October 30. <BR><BR>Not considered was interchange back rower Frank Pritchard, who hasn’t recovered from a knee injury which sidelined him during the second half of the Eden Park encounter. <BR><BR>“As a group we were very disappointed with our performance against Australia last week,” said Kearney. <BR><BR>“We prepared as well as we could for that Test but didn’t reach the standards we expect of ourselves. We need to make significant improvements in all areas this week if we are to compete against a very good Australian team.” <BR><BR>Of the changes made, Kearney said: “This is the side we think is going to work for us this week.” <BR><BR>While making two changes in the forwards, Kearney has retained the same starting backline used in the Kiwis’ last two Tests against Papua New Guinea and Australia since winger Manu Vatuvei broke his arm against England in Wellington. <BR><BR>All the starting forwards were involved in the Kiwis’ World Cup victory over Australia at the same ground two years ago as was interchange hooker Issac Luke. On that occasion, Simon Mannering was in the centres and Eastwood was on the bench but Blair, hooker Thomas Leuluai, Harrison and loose forward Jeremy Smith are in the same roles they had in the 2008 final. <BR><BR>The backline survivors from that match are Nathan Fien, Benji Marshall, Sam Perrett and Lance Hohaia while winger Jason Nightingale was in the World Cup squad but didn’t play in the final. <BR><BR>Hohaia and Leuluai will take their Test career totals to 27 appearances on Saturday night while Mannering will play his 24th international. <BR><BR>The 2010 Four Nations final is set for a 7.15pm kick-off (QLD time), 10.15pm New Zealand time. <BR><BR>The team is: <BR>1 Lance Hohaia (Vodafone Warriors) <BR>2 Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra) <BR>3 Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters) <BR>4 Junior Sa’u (Newcastle) <BR>5 Sam Perrett (Sydney Roosters) <BR>6 Benji Marshall - C (Wests Tigers) <BR>7 Nathan Fien (St George Illawarra) <BR>8 Greg Eastwood (Leeds) <BR>9 Thomas Leuluai (Wigan) <BR>10 Adam Blair (Melbourne) <BR>11 Bronson Harrison (Canberra) <BR>12 Simon Mannering (Vodafone Warriors) <BR>13 Jeremy Smith (St George Illawarra) <BR>Interchange (from): <BR>14 Issac Luke (South Sydney) <BR>15 Ben Matulino (Vodafone Warriors) <BR>16 Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters) <BR>17 Sam Mckendry (Penrith) <BR>18 Sika Manu (Melbourne) <BR>19 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters) <BR>20 Lewis Brown (Vodafone Warriors)