Rugby League: Great Britain left to play guessing game: Australian coach keeps identity of scrum-half under wraps prior to first Test

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The Independent Online
BOB FULTON wound up his Australian side yesterday for the first John Smith's Test on Saturday by showing them a video nasty of Great Britain's celebrations the last time they beat them at Wembley.

'There were blokes walking on their hands and hugging teddy bears after that match in 1990,' the Australian coach said. 'The sight of that should guard against complacency. There's nothing worse than standing on the other side and watching the winners' antics.'

Fulton will also be reminding his team that Australia started favourites for that match. 'We went through unbeaten in the lead-up matches and finished up getting rolled by a very committed Great Britain side,' he said.

It is the sight of the British jubilation four years ago rather than the match action itself which he believes will sharpen his side's motivation.

Fulton is also squeezing whatever benefit he can out of the conundrum over his scrum-half for Saturday. He has bracketed Allan Langer and Ricky Stuart for the role - with Langer the logical favourite - but was giving nothing away yesterday.

'They tell me it is unprecedented to do this, but if there's any advantage to be gained, you take it,' he said. 'Great Britain have to prepare for two different scrum-halves with two very different styles.'

Fulton dismissed suggestions that his policy could introduce an unhelpful element of uncertainty into his own team's preparations. 'I know who's playing and the players know. It's just Great Britain who don't know,' he said.

The Australian captain, Mal Meninga, praised the selection of Alan Hunte and Chris Joynt out of their usual positions in the Great Britain team. 'They have gone for speed and mobility and picked the right side,' he said.

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