Mason: I’ll Give As Good As I Get
Mason – whose suspension meant that he missed out on the Kangaroos’ 34-4 win over the tourists – will start at prop, with Brent Kite dropping to the bench and Antonio Kaufusi being cut from the squad altogether.
The Aussie forward said that he will not reign himself in for the final, contending that Australia will need to cope with the Kiwis’ intimidatory tactics if they are to avenge last season’s 24-0 loss at Elland Road.
"They're aggressive, they're big and they love to intimidate – that's what rugby league is all about," Mason commented.
"They always try and use that intimidating factor and they always try and bully us around. We are used to that. We've played plenty of tests against them, so we're going to be ready for anything. Whatever they give to us we will try and give back to them."
Mason added that New Zealand had made themselves the best side in the world with last season’s Tri-Nations win, and that the Kangaroos were eager to take that mantle back.
"The players that were there are definitely thinking about it and how bad it did feel after being beat in a final," said Mason. "It was quite embarrassing coming home.
"At the moment, I think [New Zealand's] form is probably the better of the two teams, but we've definitely got some improvement that we can make.
"We've got the utmost respect for New Zealand and they've come along in the last three or four years as real contenders. Right now they're number one in the world – unless we beat them on Saturday night."
Karmichael Hunt, Brent Tate, Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer (captain), Johnathan Thurston, Willie Mason, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Andrew Ryan, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'Donnell
Subs Shaun Berrigan, Anthony Tupou, Mark O'Meley, Brent Kite