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Australia is expecting business to resume as per normal when Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk lead the Kangaroos in the post-Darren Lockyer era.

Thurston will take Lockyer’s famous No.6 jersey in Friday night’s clash with New Zealand at Eden Park, while Cronk comes into the starting side at No.7 to accommodate Thurston’s shift.

Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith doesn’t think the new halves combination will affect the cohesion of the team and believes the two are made to play alongside each other.

“As far as JT being in the number six and Coops in the number seven, I don’t think those guys will be changing their game much,” Smith told

“I think they will complement each other. Cooper is a very structured type of half and he has a bit of a gameplan when he takes the field.

“Whereas JT understands the gameplan, but I think he doesn’t mind straying from it and playing off his own instinct, which is what makes him such a great player, I think they will complement each other really well.”

The move to five-eighth is a challenge Thurston has been eyeing for a few years. He admits making Lockyer’s position his own is "big boots to fill", but he is confident he can handle the position at Test level after making the transition in the NRL with the Cowboys this season.

“It’s a new challenge for me, ever since I’ve made it for Australia I’ve played at halfback,” Thurston told

“I’m comfortable with the role at five-eighth.

“It hasn’t changed that much, I still have that dominant role having Cooper in the side, we both get our hands on the ball the most at our club, so we will have to have a chat about that, but I don’t see that being a problem.”

It is expected Cronk will be do a majority of the organisation on the field, with Thurston interjecting in the attacking line when the New Zealand line is back-pedalling.

It is how Thurston and Lockyer used to operate so successfully for Queensland and Australia – albeit in reversed positions.

“That’s the way me and Locky played all our footy together,” he said.

“Hopefully Coops can lead the boys around the park and when I want the ball I can just get it off Smithy or Cooper. I think it will be a pretty good combination for us and hopefully we can stay like that for the next few years.

“We have played a fair bit of football alongside each other already, so we know each other’s game and hopefully we can make these jerseys our own.”

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Remember you can access all the team lists, live scores and stats from Australia vs New Zealand and City vs Country on your mobile this weekend.  Visit on your mobile device, or download the free 2012 Official NRL iPhone App ( live streaming radio available too ). Match highlights from both rep games are available 20 minutes after each game has ended, so you can relive all the big hits and tries from Auckland and Mudgee.
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