8 Oct 2009

Front row troubles with Australian Test team

8:31 am on 8 October 2009

A front-row crisis in Australian rugby league has forced coach Tim Sheens to name three rookies and a veteran who hasn't played in four months for the Kangaroos' Four Nations tour.

Petero Civoniceva, 33, is Australia's only capped prop in the 24-man squad with Bulldogs' Ben Hannant, Melbourne's Brett White and Canberra's David Shillington all picked for their debuts.

It is the second year in a row Australia has picked only four recognised front-rowers despite last year's World Cup final when Steve Price and Josh Perry were injured and the hosts lost to New Zealand.

Price is again unavailable for the tour due to an eye injury, while fellow incumbent Luke Bailey withdrew with an arm injury and the Manly pair Perry and Brent Kite were dumped.

Sheens has earmarked Parramatta's Nathan Hindmarsh and Brisbane's Sam Thaiday as potential second-rowers who can play up front.