It isn't the end of an era: Bird
Kangaroos back-rower Greg Bird insists there's still life left in an aging Australian side in the wake of their third-straight loss to the Kiwis.
Sunday's 26-12 defeat was the first time Australia has lost three on the bounce against New Zealand since 1953 and the post-match attention was firmly fixed on the Kangaroos' aging stars.
Australia aren't scheduled to play another Test match until the regular Anzac fixture next year and by the time that rolls around nine players (10 including the injured Billy Slater) out of the 17 who ran out on Suncorp Stadium will be aged 30 or older.
Although not directly referring to Australia's aging Test team, Bird, who turns 31 in October, hinted that there's still life left in the Kangaroos' old legs despite another loss against a youthful Kiwis side.
"I definitely don’t think it's the end of an era, it's just going to motivate the Australian guys who next pull on the jersey to go out and make amends," Bird said.
"There's still a lot of talent in this team – there's a lot of football left in these guys.
"Everyone goes back to club land now and there's not another Test for 12 months so we've just got to soak it in and realise the pain we are going through right now.
"When the time comes next year and if everyone is playing football good enough to deserve a spot back within this team you'll get another opportunity."
The one-year gap between Test matches is a bitter pill to swallow for Bird, who could struggle to add to his 13 Test caps if selectors decided to blood fresh talent next year with a view towards the 2017 World Cup.
"I think [the one-year wait] is one of the hardest things about the loss," he said.
"There might be some guys here who won't be in the team next year – it is an aging squad.
"It's going to be a tough wait but fingers crossed we get another opportunity to make amends like I said.
"I think any loss [hurts] when you play for Australia. We expect the best and we expect to be a dominant Australian team. There's a great amount of talent in this team and whenever we don’t go out and play to our potential I think it's disappointing."
Meanwhile Australian coach Tim Sheens, who may have coached his last 'Roos game after taking over from Ricky Stuart in 2009, said it's too soon to consider when to blood "generation next".
"For me I don't want to broach that tonight," Sheens said.
"It is a discussion point that has got to be looked at by a lot of people and with no football until this time next year it's a difficult one - when are you going to play them?"
Sheens has coached Australia 31 times for only four losses – all against New Zealand with one draw – and refused to be drawn on his own future after the 14-point loss.
"Straight after a game like that it is not a question to ask me to be honest – right now I just want to talk about the game," he said.
"There will be scrutiny on everyone's position."