White: Roos shouldn't take jersey for granted
Former Raiders, Blues and Kangaroos prop Brett White knows better than most that time spent in the green and gold jersey shouldn't be taken for granted.
White, who played his only three Tests for Australia in the inaugural 2009 Four Nations tournament, believes the current batch of Kangaroos players have to realise the importance of representing their country if they are to beat England this weekend.
White draws parallels between his time in the green and gold and the current batch of rookies.
After drawing with the Kiwis in the opening game of the 2009 Four Nations tournament courtesy of a 78th-minute Cam Smith try, the Kangaroos had to take on England to keep their hopes in the tournament alive.
Australia accounted for England in that one then thrashed them in the final a fortnight later to take out the tournament. Looking back, White says the Aussies' success simply came down to preparation.
"Without sounding to much like a big head, you're playing in one of the best teams in the world really," White tells NRL.com.
"[We were] playing against some great teams and some great nations and the confidence was there, [the draw] alerted our senses towards the importance of our preparation and it all comes back to that.
"But everyone knows, whether you're involved in it or you're just a supporter, how good the Australian team can be, so it is just a matter of making sure the individuals are at their best. You're not in that team for a long time so you have to make the most of your time."
An Australian team featuring five debutants was last weekend outmuscled by a dominant and more experienced Kiwis outfit.
While White doesn't believe the team needs to be reshuffled, he certainly believes the younger guys will be put on notice and consequently left hanging on the edge of their seat for the remainder of the tournament.
"There doesn't need to be changes or anything drastic like that, it is just [the] preparation needs to be key and there has to be a focus on it over the next couple of games," White said.
"Everyone is fully aware of the importance of it, you could never question their commitment but it allows them to have a stronger focus on the job at hand.
"It is obviously a special time and you have the best players in the world in the competition. I think that's where some of these younger guys, while they didn't take it for granted, they need to realise the importance of it and grasp... why they are there."
Coach Tim Sheens picked just one specialist front-rower in his team in each of the opening two games in Wests Tigers and Blues prop Aaron Woods. White said this means England's forward pack can ask plenty of questions of the Australians, especially with Daly Cherry-Evans and Greg Inglis in doubt.
"Obviously [Sheens] had a plan with what type of game he wants to play [with only one prop]. There are a few boys in there that are lighter on their feet and [have] a bit more speed around the ruck, with blokes like Greg Bird, and that would have been the plan," White said.
"While losing those two players didn't help [England] on the back of James Graham and the Burgess boys will certainly show their authority as an aggressive forward pack."
*This article first appeared on nrl.com