NRL 7 months ago

Meninga undecided on Thaiday replacement

  • Meninga undecided on Thaiday replacement

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Sam Thaiday of Australia gives the thumbs up to Australian fans during the Four Nations match between the England and Australian Kangaroos at Olympic Stadium on November 13, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Mal Meninga says losing Sam Thaiday for Sunday's Four Nations final is a big blow for the Kangaroos and admits he's yet to decide who'll replace the veteran forward.

Thaiday underwent surgery for a fractured eye socket and cheekbone in London on Tuesday as the rest of the squad headed north to Liverpool to prepare for the final against New Zealand at Anfield.

The 31-year-old will link up with the team later in the week and Meninga said he is still tossing up whether to go with the size and power of Boyd on the bench or with the mobility of Manly rookie Trbojevic, who impressed on debut against Scotland.

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"It's unfortunate for Sammy, but we have the depth to cover, Meninga said.

"He is a big character around the team and a big player in our team. But he'll come back and we look forward to having him around.

"Shannon and Jake are our forward reserves at the moment so we'll make a decision over the next 24 hours."

Cooper Cronk got his first look at Anfield on Tuesday and said the small in-goal areas will require some adjustment in his kicking game.

"I was in awe when I waked through the gates here," Cronk told AAP.

"I don't have an EPL team I follow, but I've watched lots of games at home on the TV played here and it'll be a bit surreal walking out on Sunday.

"The dimensions will be smaller, but the word is we'll only lose about a metre off the 10 metre-line on each grid so you won't lose a lot."

Cronk also said the pristine playing surfaces like the one at West Ham's London Stadium, where the Kangaroos beat England on Sunday, and at Anfield will allow for a fast and aggressive contest.

"It's going to be a fast track," he said.

"A soccer ball on this surface skids, whereas our ball will bounce and rotate.

"When we do our captain's run on Saturday the kickers will get a better idea of how the ball reacts.

"But we've all played on different surfaces before, it shouldn't be that big a deal, it's what makes international footy such a challenge."

Australian whistleblower Ben Cummins has been named as the referee for the match.

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