Danny Buderus will captain Australia for the first time in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with Great Britain, while Brett Kimmorley has the chance tomorrow night to play his way back into the side.
The Kangaroos' on-field leader, Darren Lockyer, is out of the match at the City of Manchester Stadium with a recurrence of a rib problem, with the Newcastle hooker, Buderus, stepping up into the captaincy. What is less certain is how Wayne Bennett will compensate for the absence of Lockyer as stand-off. One alternative would be to move Craig Gower, with Kimmorley, who plays for the combined ANZAC side against Cumbria at Workington tomorrow, coming in at scrum-half.
That combination beat Great Britain last autumn, so Kimmorley has plenty of incentive to underline his claim at Workington. He would also provide Australia with a front-line goal-kicker, with the regular marksman, Craig Fitzgibbon, also out of the Manchester game with a shoulder injury. The ANZAC side, largely composed of Australian and New Zealand tourists not so far involved in the Tri-Nations, have called up two British-based Australians - the Wakefield centre, Sid Domic, and the Huddersfield forward, Ben Roarty.
New Zealand's scrum-half in the tournament, Thomas Leuluai, is expected to decide this week whether to join Widnes. The club's coach, Frank Endacott, says that the New Zealand Warriors have agreed to release Leuluai, but not to play against them for another club in the National Rugby League. Widnes have also identified another half-back they want to sign, but say that it is not Bradford's Robbie Paul, who has been reproaching himself for what he describes as his worst-ever game for the Kiwis at Loftus Road on Saturday.
Leigh have signed the former Leeds and Huddersfield prop, Darren Fleary, for their entry into Super League next year and have re-signed their prolific full-back, Neil Turley.
Castleford have signed the Bradford hooker, Aaron Smith.
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