Kangaroos don't need Fifita: Harris
He was the controversial omission from the Kangaroos squad for the upcoming Four Nations tour but New Zealand back-rower Tohu Harris believes the Australians don't lose anything by not having Andrew Fifita at their disposal.
Fifita and Eels winger Semi Radradra were both excluded from selection as a result of ongoing off-field matters that superseded the Sharks front-rower's standout performance in his side's Telstra Premiership Grand Final win less than a fortnight ago.
Woods is unavailable for Saturday night's Test in Perth due to a previous commitment but Harris is adamant the Kiwi pack will have a difficult time containing the Kangaroos forwards, even without Fifita.
"You can't fault anyone who is in that squad now," Harris said on Tuesday.
"The [Australian] selectors have got a really tough job selecting that team and the players that they've got in that position at the moment, you don't lose anything.
"They are players who are hard to stop, players who are going to take some tackling to get them down.
"I don't envy the selectors' job in picking those teams but it just puts an emphasis on the fact that we've got a huge challenge ahead of us."
With Woods absent the door is ajar for 24-year-old Canberra forward Boyd to make his Test debut having represented Country Origin for the first time earlier this year in Tamworth.
At 194 centimetres and 122 kilograms he is one of the biggest bodies in the NRL and Harris knows just how hard he is to bring down when he has a full head of steam.
"He's obviously a very big human," was Harris's blunt assessment.
"He's someone that has got a lot of size and he runs really hard so that takes some stopping.
"You can't go in passively, you've got to have a lot of intent to stop him and that's not just him, that's pretty much their whole forward pack.
"Our forward pack has got a huge job in the physical side of the game."
Currently the No.1-ranked rugby league nation, the Kiwis traditionally play their best football at the end of tournaments and are coming off a 16-0 loss to the Kangaroos in Newcastle back in May.
They will be without veteran Simon Mannering for this Test but Harris says there is no sense of using this game against Australia as merely a warm-up for the upcoming Four Nations tournament in England.
"We don't see it as a warm-up game, we see it as its own Test match because if you take this week or take this game lightly Australia are a ruthless team that will make you pay," said the 24-year-old ahead of his 12th Test for New Zealand.
"We're going to give it the respect that it deserves and that's playing our best and turning up for the huge challenge that's in front of us.
"It's a Test match against Australia, you don't get a bigger challenge than that so we're taking that as it is. It's a Test match and we're going to treat it as that.
"There was a lot that we can learn from that [Newcastle] game but the biggest thing was that we've got to prepare well.
"A lot of our preparation was out of our control, we had different players pulling out late and different things and that affects preparation but we probably needed to respond a bit better and prepare a bit better to put a better performance on the field.
"That's something that we've really taken on board with our preparation for a game.
"We need to take that real seriously and respect the process that goes into a week leading up to a Test match."