Thaiday remains integral to Kangaroos
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has ensured Sam Thaiday remains vital to Australia's preparations ahead of the Four Nations final against New Zealand.
Thaiday fractured his eye socket in a nasty head clash with England prop James Graham in the Kangaroos' last start win.
Labelled a spiritual leader for the Kangaroos' squad, Thaiday was present at Anfield for Australia's captain's run and appeared in high spirits.
Meninga offered Thaiday's replacement, young front-rower Shannon Boyd, a vote of confidence ahead of his return to the Test side.
Boyd had featured in all of Australia's post-NRL season games up until they played England last weekend as Meninga preferred the more agile Tyson Frizell.
"(Shannon Boyd) has played most of the trip too and was obviously disappointed to not be picked last weekend. But given a chance, he's raring to go," Meninga said.
"It's unfortunate for Sam. But he's still a spiritual leader for us and will be important for us in the team's preparation."
Meninga confirmed the 17 named earlier in the week will run out against New Zealand on Monday morning (AEDT).
Back-rower Boyd Cordner has overcome a stomach bug and will take his place for the Kangaroos.
Utility forward Jake Trbojevic and centre Justin O'Neill are unfortunate to miss out, though Meninga said the non-playing players are keeping positive.
"If you talk to the players, I think they know where they sit in this team," Meninga said.
"There's a lot of respect there for it. Those decisions are always tough but if you're coming from an honest and sincere point of view then things will be fine."
With coaching counterpart David Kidwell keeping the New Zealand side under wraps, Australia will not know who replaces Thomas Leuluai (jaw) at five-eighth until one hour before kick-off.
Meninga remained unfazed however and had no preference between likely playmaking options Tohu Harris and Te Maire Martin.
"Harris has obviously played there before but nothing will surprise me," Meninga said.
"We haven't worried about it too much. It doesn't bother me. It's happened all tour really [that they've named a squad]. So it doesn't affect us at all."
"We know they'll be fired up so we'll have to match their commitment."