Australian players aren't counting on Greg Inglis making his comeback against New Zealand in the opening match of the Four Nations tournament, despite the star centre being selected in a 20-man squad.
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has sparked speculation that Inglis may be rushed into the team after he was named on a seven-match bench but Australian players expect the same 17 players that thrashed the Kiwis in Newcastle two weeks ago to again play.
"I think he is still making a decision on Greg," prop Paul Gallen said. "You would probably think he won't play but I think he just wants to get a bit of mileage out of his legs and make GI train because obviously he doesnt like the training too much. He just likes getting out there and running around.
"He will train tomorrow afternoon and Tim will make a decision after that but I think it is just a cover to make sure nothing happens in the final training session or the warm-up."
Backrowers Beau Scott and Corey Parker were the other two players named by Sheens on the extended Australian bench that didn't play in Newcastle.
"No one knows what is going on," lock Anthony Watmough said. "He is a bit like that Sheensy. He will name a side but he won't name his bench.
"I didnt even know I was playing until yesterday arvo, and as for the rest of the boys, as far as i know they've got no idea.
"But if GI gets a start it is a bonus for us. The two boys that were there last time [Chris Lawrence and Willie Tonga] had a real good dig and they would be pretty hard done by if they get left out, but what are you going to do."
Meanwhile, New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney has made two changes to the side thrashed by Australia on October 16 - calling up Warriors forward Ben Matulino to replace suspended team-mate Russell Packer in the frontrow and Wigan utility Thomas Leuluai in place of Nathan Fien.
Leuluai was named on the interchange bench, with South Sydney hooker Isaac Luke promoted to the starting side after being the Kiwis most dangerous player in Newcastle.
Storm secondrower Sika Manu also moves into the starting side after trading places with Brisbane's Alex Glenn.
Melbourne backrower Kevin Proctor has been chosen as the 18th man.
“We obviously weren't pleased with the way we performed in Newcastle,” said Kearney.
“We've worked hard since we've been here to give us the best possible chance of producing the kind of performance we expect of ourselves.
“We set high standards within the team and we all know those weren't achieved the last time we played Australia.”
AUSTRALIA: Billy Slater; Akuila Uate, Willie Tonga, Chris Lawrence, Darius Boyd; Darren Lockyer ©, Johnathan Thurston; Paul Gallen, Cameron Smith, Matt Scott, Luke Lewis, Sam Thaiday, Anthony Watmough. Res: Cooper Cronk, Keith Galloway, David Shillington, Tony Williams, Beau Scott, Greg Inglis, Corey Parker.
NEW ZEALAND: Kevin Locke; Kalifa Faifai Loa, Lewis Brown, Gerard Beale, Jason Nightingale; Benji Marshal ©, Keiran Foran; Ben Matulino, Issac Luke, Sam McKendry, Sika Manu, Simon Mannering, Jeremy Smith. Res: Thomas Leuluai, Fuifui Moimoi, Alex Glenn, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.