Do Or Die For Lions

But last week’s 34-4 defeat at the hands of New Zealand was a crushing blow to the Lions’ hopes after the Australia game, leaving them trailing the Kiwis on points difference in the table.

Coach Brian Noble said that Australia were a very good side, but that the loss of Sean Long after the New Zealand game had galvanised the side.

Noble said: "We're fully aware Australia are a pretty good team but we think we are too. Sean leaving has galvanised the guys and we've come closer together.”

“It's pretty obvious that what we did last week wouldn't bring home the spoils this week. We've reinforced the beliefs of the way that we should play and the kind of things that we should do. It's important that we do change from last week but a mental shift as well will help us."

Long will be replaced in the starting line-up by Hull FC’s Richard Horne, with martin Gleeson replacing Kirk Yeaman in the centres and Sean O’Loughlin returning to the pack.

Paul Wellens said that he was happy with the selection of Horne in the scrum-half berth, saying that he knew from experience just what the player can do.

"I've played against Richard for quite a number of years and I know he's quality” said Wellens. “I'm sure if he goes out and plays his own game there's no reason why he won't be successful."

Wellens also echoed Noble’s view that Long’s departure has brought the squad closer together, saying: "We had the disappointment of Sean leaving but we feel that's galvanised the guys and we've come closer together as a group.”

“It's going to be a really tough game but we're really looking forward to the challenge.”

Jonathon Thurston will return to scrum-half for the Kangaroos while Justin Hodgson returns to centre, meaning that all seven backs are Queensland players, with the notable exception of Mark Gasnier

"Your preparation through the week gives you a good indication about a lot of things and it's been good this week," said captain Darren Lockyer. "I think things are looking good for us but, at the same time, things can go wrong.

"There's not one player out there that I haven't played football with before. Everyone is familiar with one another so that's got to help, particularly in the backs."

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