Rugby League: Meninga certain to be fit for final

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The Independent Online
THE Australian captain, Mal Meninga, is a definite starter in next Saturday's World Cup final at Wembley, despite a knee injury which kept him out of Wednesday night's warm-up victory at Sheffield.

Meninga, who spent yesterday at London Zoo doing promotional work for the final, is not ready to be put out to grass yet, his coach, Bob Fulton, says. 'It was a very minor strain. If it had been the World Cup final on Wednesday, he would have played,' he said.

Fulton will not decide until today, after he has had a chance to study the videos of Australia's matches against Huddersfield and Sheffield, whether to play his projected Wembley side against Cumbria at Workington on Sunday.

There are, in any event, some positions, like wing and second row, where he has not made a final decision. At full-back, however, the fine form of Tim Brasher has made him the strong favourite for the role at Wembley.

Sheffield, licking their wounds after their 52-22 defeat by Australia, will be considerably stronger for their first major final, when they play Wakefield Trinity for the Yorkshire Cup at Elland Road on Sunday.

The Eagles will have two Australians back in their side - Bruce McGuire, whose wife gave birth to a son on Wednesday night, and Paul Carr, who sat out the match after concussion. Anthony Farrell and Ian Hughes are also expected to be fit.

Sheffield will become the first side to be led out in a final by a woman, their director Kath Hetherington, who has worked alongside her husband, Gary, to establish the club over its eight- year history.