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Kangaroos win will ease pressure for Sheens

Nervous times ... Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens.

Nervous times ... Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens. Photo: Getty Images

There is something slightly sadistic about sending 18 players, at the tail end of a gruelling season, to train and then play in hot and humid Townsville for a week. Such climes are not unusual destinations for NRL stars in October - the difference is they are more likely to be holding a cocktail around the pool than a football.

If Tim Sheens, then, has any trouble getting the Australian team "up" for Saturday week's one-off Test against New Zealand at Dairy Farmers Stadium, it should not surprise.

Whatever the case, though, you can be certain the Kangaroos coach will not be in any way in holiday mode about the 11 days ahead. There may be a general absence of lustre about this blot on the calendar - there is no Four Nations tournament this year due to the World Cup in 12 months time - but for Sheens what transpires in the tropical far north is of great importance.

Sacked by Wests Tigers a week ago, it is yet to be determined what day job, if any, he will be in next year. That uncertainty makes the veteran mentor even more desperate to be in charge of Australia next year when they attempt to win the international game's biggest prize back from the Kiwis.

He is on a year-to-year contract with the national team, and while it would come as a shock if he were to be replaced win, lose or draw in Townsville, Sheens does not need to look far to be reminded that his present deal runs out imminently. John Grant, the Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, sat next to Sheens in reading out the Australian team in Sydney yesterday, and said a decision on next year's coach would be made in the off-season. There is every indication that Sheens is in no danger whatsoever, but he will feel exceedingly more comfortable should Cameron Smith's side put away New Zealand without drama on October 13.

"We've got a World Cup next year ... and we'd want to give the coach all the run in possible into that World Cup," Grant said. "If the Test team performs, and the coach performs, then it's really hard not to reward ongoing sustained performance, as it should be."

It was for performance reasons that Sheens was removed last week as head coach of the Tigers, although there remains doubt about whether he will stay with the club in a senior role to avoid them having to pay him out $900,000 for the final two years of his contract.

Sheens, clad in his Australian polo, is putting that issue on the backburner until after the Test match - "Today I'm wearing this shirt, guys. This is all about Test football" - and takes an 18-man squad to Townsville that contains few surprises although several notable absentees due to injury or extended lay-offs.

Those not considered included Sam Thaiday, Anthony Watmough, Kurt Gidley, Ben Hannant, Matt Gillett, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Brett and Glenn Stewart and Luke Lewis. As a result, Melbourne's premiership-winning second-rower Ryan Hoffman won a first international call-up since 2009, Tony Williams was picked on the bench despite an average end to the season, while Tigers captain Robbie Farah was preferred to Canterbury's Josh Reynolds and the Storm's Ryan Hinchcliffe for the bench utility job.

Reynolds, who rocketed into calculations after an outstanding season at five-eighth for the Bulldogs, is one of several shadow players on standby. "We don't want too many going away to Hawaii just yet," Sheens said.

Australia: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), James Tamou, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen, Nate Myles. Interchange: Robbie Farah, Ryan Hoffman, David Shillington, Tony Williams, Ben Te'o (18th man).

New Zealand (squad): Gerard Beale, Jesse Bromwich, Greg Eastwood, Kieran Foran, Josh Hoffman, Krisnan Inu, Shaun Johnson, Sam Kasiano, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Benji Marshall, Ben Matulino, Sam McKendry, Sam Perrett, Frank Pritchard, Kevin Proctor, Jeremy Smith, Elijah Taylor, Dean Whare.

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6 vs SOU 36 Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Stats
GCT 18 vs WST 19 Stats
NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Stats
CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4 vs MEL 12 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Stats
CRO 2 vs BRI 10 Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40 vs GCT Stats
MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14 vs NEW 16 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6 vs NZW 18 Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22 vs STG 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12 vs CBY 16 Stats
BRI 44 vs NQL 22 Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29 vs PAR 16 Stats
CBR 20 vs STG 22 Stats
MEL 36 vs CRO 18 Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20 vs WST 6 Stats
GCT 18 vs NEW 20 Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20 vs PEN 12 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29 vs SOU 16 Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26 vs PEN 14 Stats
CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Stats
STG 12 vs MAN 4 Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16 vs BRI 24 Stats
SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18 vs MEL 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Stats
GCT 16 vs BRI 26 Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Stats
NEW vs STG 13 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12 vs CRO 20 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6 vs WST 22 Stats
MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Stats
PEN 10 vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22 vs SYD 18 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Stats
NZW 32 vs WST 22 Stats
PEN 22 vs MAN 12 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Stats
STG 31 vs CBY 6 Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12 vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Stats
NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Stats
MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14 vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28 vs GCT 32 Stats
NEW 24 vs NQL 26 Stats
SYD 12 vs STG 14 Stats
MEL 10 vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28 vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26 vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs PEN 19:35SUN
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR vs GCT 15:00GIO Stadium
CRO vs NZW 17:30Remondis Stadium
NQL vs CBY 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NEW 14:00BO
PAR vs MEL 16:00Pirtek Stadium
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU vs STG 19:00ANZ
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY vs SYD 19:35ANZ
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR vs NZW 15:00Pirtek Stadium
GCT vs CRO 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
MEL vs SOU 19:30AAMI
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG vs CBR 14:00WIN
NEW vs WST 16:00HS
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN vs PEN 19:00BO
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU vs PAR 19:45ANZ
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NQL 19:30CSS
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CBY 16:00GIO Stadium
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW vs BRI 19:00HS
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs WST 19:45BO
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs SYD 19:00AS
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
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Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
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Round 21
Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
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Round 22
Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
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Round 24
Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
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NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
St George-Illawarra Dragons 8 6 2 0 12
Brisbane Broncos 8 6 2 0 12
Melbourne Storm 8 5 3 0 10
North Queensland Cowboys 8 5 3 0 10
Wests Tigers 8 4 4 0 8
South Sydney Rabbitohs 8 4 4 0 8
Gold Coast Titans 8 4 4 0 8
Penrith Panthers 8 4 4 0 8
View all
 
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