New Zealand captain Simon Mannering does not believe there will be any repeat of the Junior trans-Tasman haka controversy at the Four Nations.
One word summed up why New Zealand captain Simon Mannering believed there would be no repeat of the junior trans-Tasman Test haka controversy in the Four Nations opener on Saturday – testosterone.
Both the Kiwis and Australia were deadly serious in Brisbane on Friday when they reflected on the Junior Kangaroos’ provocative decision to link arms and advance during their rivals’ traditional call to arms in Auckland last weekend.
It resulted in ugly scenes beamed around the world before officials could restore order.
In the bitter fallout, New Zealand Rugby League president Howie Tamati slammed the Junior Kangaroos for being disrespectful.
While mindful of the topic’s sensitive nature, Mannering inadvertently cracked up the media when asked about his take on the controversy.
“There’s a lot of testosterone going around at that age,” he smiled.
“I don’t think we will see that tomorrow – I will leave it at that.”
Australian captain Cameron Smith ruled it out – and for good reason.
“I think the last time we did that was in the World Cup final (in 2008) and we got beaten so we won’t be doing that again,” he smiled.
“I haven’t seen the whole thing (Junior trans-Tasman Test haka) but that obviously creates a lot of talk amongst the fans and the public.
“As far as the haka’s concerned, for a guy who witnessed so many of them, it’s a great thing to witness.
“It’s a privilege to be on the same field as them when they’re doing it.”
Meanwhile, Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney believed they would bounce back from the withdrawal of Penrith winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak with a broken foot.
The flyer has been replaced by St George Illawarra utility Gerard Beale in Saturday’s side with Brisbane outcast Josh Hoffman injected into the Kiwi squad.
“We’ve had one mishap with Dallin – apart from that, everything is going alright,” Kearney laughed.
Meanwhile, Mannering was not taking anything for granted against an injury and suspension-ravaged Australian side set to blood five rookies.
“They are definitely not vulnerable,” he said.
“It is not important talking about who is not playing – it’s about who is here.
“We still see them as the No.1 team in the competition.”