Australia’s Test rookies are desperate to repay the faith shown in them by coach Tim Sheens with a victory in Saturday’s Four Nations final against New Zealand.
With 12 members of last year’s World Cup winning squad unavailable for this year’s end-of-season tournament, Sheen was forced to punt on a number of international unknowns.
As a result Sheens has blooded nine rookies in Aaron Woods, Dylan Walker, Daniel Tupou, Josh Mansour, Aidan Guerra, Sione Mata’utia, Ben Hunt, David Klemmer and Josh Jackson over the course of the nine-week tournament.
It has been a wonderful opportunity for those players to taste Test football earlier than they might have and Woods said they are keen to make their selection up to Sheens.
“It has been a massive learning curve for all of us and Sheensy has been a big help in that,” Woods told AAP.
“He has told us exactly what he wants from us, brought us together really well and you can see how we have grown I think.
“Sheensy has shown the faith in us and we believe in him and what he tells us to do.
“It is important for us to live up to that.”
After a morale-sapping first-up loss to the Kiwis, Australia have notched up wins over England and Samoa to qualify for the tournament decider in Wellington.
“He has given us a great opportunity and we want to make the most of it,” Woods said.
“There might be players missing, but it is up to us to make the most of it and show that pride in the jersey.
“Everyone wrote us off after the first game but we really knuckled down against England and then against Samoa and came out and got the job done.
“It’s been great for all of us and hopefully we can finish off the job.
“Sheensy has put that faith in us, put that confidence in us and turned us into a team.”