Sam Thaiday has passed a fitness test and will play for Australia against England.
Sam Thaiday has passed a fitness test and will play for Australia against England. DAVE HUNT

Thaiday passes fitness test for England showdown

RUGBY LEAGUE: Brisbane Broncos veteran forward Sam Thaiday will play in Monday's (AEST) Four Nations clash with England at the London Olympic Stadium after passing a fitness test on his injured knee.

Thaiday completed the captain's run at London's Olympic Stadium, proving the injury he sustained in the win over New Zealand was right.

Skipper Cameron Smith said Thaiday's availability gave the Australians their best team available.

Smith expects England to be pumped up, desperate to end a decade-long wait for a victory over the Kangaroos and it was important to have Thaiday in the team.

"He's in our best 17 and he's had a great tour so far," Smith told reporters.

"He's great for the squad with the type of character he is. The most important thing is that he's a great footy player."

Smith believes England coach Wayne Bennett will have his team primed for this match after two underwhelming displays against the Kiwis and Scotland in their opening two matches.

If England can win or draw, Bennett's team will Australia in the final at Anfield on November 20 after Scotland's shock draw with New Zealand last Friday in Workington.

"They've got a bit of a sniff now after Scotland's draw," Smith said.

"The talk all week was by how much, but now they just have to win to be in the final. That's probably a bit of extra motivation for their side.

"Wayne would have had these guys geared up for a solid performance."

Coach Mal Meninga echoed Smith's sentiments about Thaiday, but couldn't help but address some hard luck stories within his squad.

Meninga also clarified his position over picking Dragons utility Tyson Frizell on the bench over Raiders prop Shannon Boyd, who up until this weekend had played every Test this tournament. 

"My belief is we've picked our best team. Shannon Boyd was unlucky to miss out. Justin O'Neill's been good and Matt Moylan had a terrific game against Scotland. But tough decisions had to be made," Meninga told reporters.

"Tyson's form has been exceptional and he offers us plenty from the bench. As does Shannon but we had to make the tough decision to choose an agile player who has a bit of versatility both in the middle and on the edges."

The Kangaroos team: Darius Boyd, Valentine Holmes, Greg Inglis, Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Aaron Woods, Matt Gillett, Boyd Cordner, Trent Merrin. Interchange: David Klemmer, Tyson Frizell, Sam Thaiday, Michael Morgan.


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