New Zealand expect much-improved Australia

New Zealand expect much-improved Australia

New Zealand have a huge chance of upsetting Australia and winning the Four Nations for a second time.

The Kiwis thumped the Kangaroos 30-12 in the tournament opener in Brisbane, ending their eight-game losing streak against Australia.

But New Zealand are expecting a much-improved performance from Australia in the final in Wellington on Saturday.

"They [Australia] are gelling a little better now, compared to the first game so obviously we are up for a massive test," Kiwis back-rower Adam Blair said.

"[But] if we go out there and do what we have done in this tournament, and a little bit extra, then I think we can come away with the win."

Kiwis hooker Thomas Leuluai has been ruled out with a shoulder injury and a badly gashed face.

South Sydney superstar Issac Luke will start after coming off the bench in recent weeks.

The squad is otherwise unchanged, but Tohu Harris (shoulder), Dean Whare (foot) and Jason Nightingale (face) are all nursing minor injuries from last weekend.

Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has named Robbie Farah, Aidan Guerra and Ryan Hoffman on the bench.

However, he did the same thing last week and all three dropped out of the 17 for Ben Hunt, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer.

Expect the same 17 that thumped Samoa 44-18 to run out this weekend.

Australia captain Cameron Smith said his side had definitely improved since the loss to New Zealand.

"We have grown a bit more patient as a football side over the last two weeks," he said.

"In that first match given we had five debutants we went looking for cheap points when we were in an arm wrestle match against the Kiwis.

[Against England and Samoa] at times when we could have thrown the ball around a lot more we stuck to our game plan and the points came."

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