21 Oct 2009

Sheens challenges his players to live up to favouritism

9:58 am on 21 October 2009

Australian rugby league coach Tim Sheens has challenged his players to live up to their status as favourites to win the inaugural Four Nations.

Hailed as one of the best sides to leave Australia's shores, the Kangaroos are expected to win the tournament, which also features co-hosts England and France, and world champions New Zealand, who they meet in their opening match on Sunday morning.

Sheens says what the bookies say, what the crowd thinks, and what actually happens on the football field are often two different things.

He says it's being able to play with that expectation and certainly play with the fact that they''re supposed to win it.

Captain Darren Lockyer agrees that they were expected to win the World Cup last year, but that they do have a good side.

New Zealand beat Australia 24-0 in the 2005 Tri-Nations final.

The Kangaroos restored some pride after their 2008 World Cup final defeat to their arch rivals with a convincing 38-10 Test victory in May.