Sheens happy to stick with new-look forwards
After the Kangaroos were outmuscled by New Zealand in their 30-12 loss to kick off their Four Nations campaign, coach Tim Sheens rang the changes – and he likes what he's seen since.
That initial side featured just one specialist front-rower in Aaron Woods, with Sam Thaiday starting at prop and the likes of Corey Parker and Josh Papalii filling that role off the bench.
But Sheens responded to his team's first-up loss by blooding giant young Bulldogs prop David Klemmer, and for the must-win Samoa clash the coach pushed Thaiday back to second row and promoted Papalii to starting prop.
Klemmer was close to best on ground against Samoa, playing bigger minutes than he's used to at Canterbury. He responded by topping the metres among all forwards; his 141 from 12 monstrous charges was second only to winger Josh Mansour among all players, and he added 24 tackles.
The starting props, Woods and Papalii, combined for 238 metres.
Speaking after the win, Sheens said while he needs to go to the video and assess injuries, he would be loathe to significantly change the pack.
"We did want to start hard and fast and I think the forward pack as we picked it went really well, the experienced back three [of Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker] and the young front rowers [Woods and Papalii].
"They both went really well and carried the ball really well in those first 15 minutes which is where it all happens. You've got to be brave and they were," Sheens said.
The mentor said he'd be unlikely to change the starting props for next week and praised Klemmer's efforts of the bench.
"Klemmer put his hand up, coming off the bench he was really good. Corey [Parker] played up front as well, we used Sammy [Thaiday] there as well so that was our rotation and we plan to do that – starting with the experienced back row and moving the younger back rowers in later in the game, pushing the more experienced guys into the middle to give the other experienced guys some support."