Australia hopeful over Slater

Australia coach Tim Sheens says he is hopeful that Billy Slater will be able to play in Saturday’s World Cup final against New Zealand.

Slater, 30, was taken off early in the second half of the quarter-final victory over USA with a knee injury, but trained with the Kangaroos for the first time since then on Wednesday.

Sheens said: “Billy trained very well. We’ll wait and see what happens on Thursday.

“I’m never confident about these things, but what I saw today at least gives us some hope that he will be available.

“I’m not surprised (he’s been able to get in contention). A couple of years ago, he injured himself on the Monday ahead of an Anzac test, going over badly on an ankle, and he played on the Friday, and you wouldn’t have known by the end of the week that he’d had a problem.

“Another thing is that because we’re here, he’s getting 24/7 treatment, we’ve had two physios in camp working very well with him, and he’s worked very hard.

“We’re giving him every chance, but from a coaches point of view you always plan for worst case scenario.”

Slater scored tries in the group stage victories over Australia and Ireland, but sat out the two matches against Fiji.

The Kangaroos do of course have a ready made replacement in the shape of International Player of the Year nominee Greg Inglis, who was named as the World’s best full-back at the RLIF awards dinner on Wednesday night.

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