Attitude key for fringe players: Hayne
While Jarryd Hayne has his hands full trying to win a spot in Tim Sheens' strongest Kangaroos line-up, Eels clubmate Joseph Paulo is dreaming of a meeting with US President Barack Obama, to perhaps get his face engraved on Mount Rushmore.
Such is the euphoria surrounding the Tomahawks' fairytale run into next week's quarter-final against Australia, The Wiggles penned Shock the World, a tribute to the feel-good story of the World Cup.
But while a date with the global power awaits for the Kangaroos, Hayne must first impress coach Tim Sheens in Australia's final group game against Ireland on Sunday morning (AEDT), in what is essentially a dead rubber, to press his claims for a match-up with Paulo.
"This week is all about attitude," Hayne told NRL.com. "Sheensy's looking for an 80-minute performance from all of us – he doesn't want any of us to drop off. And knowing that we're already in the finals, you don't want to. It's all about being consistent.
"Obviously he'll decide come quarter-finals next week who's going to be there, and he said it's all based on attitude, commitment to training and to the game."
Sheens went for his incumbent wing pairing of Brett Morris and Darius Boyd for the tournament-opener against England before handing Hayne an opportunity against Fiji last week, where he set up a try and broke four tackles in an otherwise quiet performance.
After enjoying three days off visiting places like St Patricks cathedral in Dublin, the Kangaroos returned to training on Tuesday preparing for their clash with the co-hosts.
And the Eels co-captain has been given another chance in Limerick, where he hopes he'll do enough to not only stop Paulo's face from being carved into one of America's most iconic attractions, but force his way into Sheens' plans for the business end of the tournament.
"It's pretty awesome of The Wiggles to do that. It's a very unique way to reward 'Sefa'," Hayne said. "He's been one of the real quiet achievers at Parra so it's great to see him get some recognition, play some good footy and lead those boys to the finals.
"But right now it's all about attitude. The team is going to get picked after this game and some boys are going to miss out."
Hayne isn't the only player vying for a spot against the Tomahawks. Luke Lewis' tournament-ending injury means forwards Nate Myles, Josh Papalii and Boyd Cordner are all fighting it out for a bench spot; Daly Cherry-Evans' strong run-on debut against the Bati improved his opportunity to steal Robbie Farah's utility role; while Michael Jennings and Josh Morris are hoping to unseat veteran Brent Tate at right centre.
So while the result of Sunday morning's game is inconsequential, the stakes are high for a number of Kangaroos players in Australia's bid to reclaim their mantle as world champions.