Cordner's shot at history in Oceania Cup Tests

Australia captain Boyd Cordner has the chance to become the first New South Welshman to hold aloft trophies for leading his club, state and country to victory in the same season.

The Kangaroos second-rower skippered Sydney Roosters to a 14-8 defeat of Canberra in the NRL grand final, led NSW to an Origin series win and can now create history by captaining Australian to victory in the upcoming Oceania Cup.

IRL officials have confirmed that the new Oceania Cup Trophy will be presented to the winners after the final match of the tournament between Australia and Tonga at Eden Park on November 2.

However, to have a chance of winning the inaugural Oceania Cup tournament the Kangaroos must beat New Zealand at WIN Stadium on Friday as the Kiwis defeated Tonga in the first round clash, which was played mid-year.

Allan Langer completed the club, state, country treble in 1998, Darren Lockyer did it in 2006 and Cameron Smith joined them in 2017 after leading Australia to World Cup victory but all are Queenslanders.

"Boyd leads by example," Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said. "He is a man of few words but when he talks everyone listens.

"He is a great player in his own right and knows when to lead at the right times. He is a special player and a special leader. He understands the importance of putting on the green and gold jersey."

With five debutants and eight new faces in the Kangaroos team facing New Zealand on Friday night, Meninga said he was using the Oceania Cup as a stepping stone for the 2021 World Cup in England.

"We've had a lot of players leave the international arena who have had a lot of experience, your Cameron Smiths and Johnathan Thurstons and Billy Slaters who had been around for a long time and have announced their retirements," Meninga said.

"Other guys get an opportunity now, like Josh Addo-Carr. He has really put his hand up and this is an opportunity for him to put an Australian jersey on.

"It's his time, we are moving forward with the Kangaroos and we have got a new breed of players.

"We have got a wealth of talent coming through and we look to the future as well.  We look to the World Cup and I guess what makes this so exciting is that the international program is on at the moment and we want to make it a showpiece."

The Kiwis beat Australia last year in coach Michael Maguire's second game in charge and he said they had grown as a team since then.

After the disappointment of their 2017 World Cup campaign, in which the Kiwis were beaten by Tonga and knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Fiji, Maguire said planning had already begun for 2021.

"As much as we talk about winning [on Friday], we are not shy to talk about building for the next World Cup," he said.

"This is an important game for us on Friday like every Test match that we play. They are all very important now and it is an opportunity to develop."

Kiwis captain Benji Marshall was in tears during the New Zealand national anthem after being recalled for the mid-season Oceania Cup Test against Tonga and the veteran playmaker admitted he was likely to be emotional again on Friday night.

Marshall, who had not represented New Zealand for seven years, will break the record he shared with Gary Freeman when he captains the Kiwis in a 20th Test.

"I didn't give up on it, I just didn't think it was going to be realistic," Marshall said about his recall to the Test arena.

"When you are singing the national anthem you think about a lot of things and part of the Kiwi way is we all love our family and preach family and when you start thinking about those things you get a bit emotional."

Meninga said the Kangaroos would be "no less passionate than the Kiwis" in their first Test for 12 months.

"We want to bring that sense of internationalism to our great game and we want to put on a show on Friday night and in every game we play we want to pay respect for the jersey," he said.

 

Be there live at WIN Stadium for the Test Match Double Header. Visit nrl.com/tickets to purchase tickets.