Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga watches on during a training session.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga watches on during a training session. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Meninga points to rugby league power shift

RUGBY LEAGUE: Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga says he is not surprised giant-killers Fiji have surged into the Rugby League World Cup semi-finals, declaring their performance signals a shift in the game's power base.

The Bati turned the tournament on its head when they upstaged New Zealand at the weekend to set up a semi-final clash against Australia in Brisbane tomorrow night.

New Zealand's shock elimination means they are the first tier-one nation to lose to a second-tier nation not once but twice with losses to Tonga and then Fiji.

"There's been a shift I reckon,” Meninga said.

"Look at our numbers that play in the NRL, I think something like 38 per cent are Pacific Islander.

"So yeah, there is a shift in our game and that augers well for the Pacific nations and international rugby league.”

Meninga said the Kangaroos would not take the Bati lightly with a spot in the World Cup decider on the line.

"We know how passionate, how committed (Fiji) are to the cause. There's great belief in their footy team so we'll make sure we prepare really well,” he said.

Meninga confirmed Will Chambers will be a certain starter at Suncorp Stadium after the centre missed Tuesday's main training run of the week after breaking his toe in Australia's pool win over Lebanon.

"When you run it takes a fair bit of impact,we just gauge it every session,” Meninga said.

"But he'll be right to train in the captain's run, which he did last week and he'll be right to play.”

In the other semi-final, Tonga will take on England in Auckland on Saturday afternoon.

News Corp Australia


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