AUSTRALIA faces a nervous wait on the health of another key member of its spine after fullback Darius Boyd failed to finish the team’s first training session on Tuesday.
Boyd came off the field and was assessed for hamstring soreness midway through the session before being immediately taken back to the team hotel.
Josh Dugan and Valentine Holmes filled in at fullback for the rest of the training run, however team officials say Boyd’s early withdrawal was only a precaution.
“He’s got hamstring tightness. He’s got back to the hotel for further assessment. He’ll continue to be assessed over the next few days,” a team spokesperson said.
Boyd is the second player under an injury cloud heading into Friday’s Test against New Zealand, with star five-eighth Johnathan Thurston also battling a calf problem.
Thurston completed the entire two-hour session, as well as a solo regimen with team doctor Chris Ball.
Second-rower Boyd Cordner said Thurston, who has missed the past three NRL games for North Queensland, is likely to make a call on his status on Wednesday.
“Anyone who knows Johnno, or had anything to do with him, he’s a competitor. I think he was close to playing against Parra,” Cordner said.
“He trained yesterday and he said he pulled through okay. We’ve got another session today, so he reckons if he gets through that, he should be sweet.”
As they await the health of their key duo, the Kangaroos are also on high alert over the return of Kiwi stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Kieran Foran from injury.
Both players are set to be among at least seven changes to the New Zealand side that was walloped in the Four Nations final at Anfield last year.
It will be the first time the pair will reunite with current Warriors playmakers Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke since the Kiwis upset Australia in the corresponding fixture two years ago.
Asked whether Australia’s defensive approach needed to change against a new-look Kiwis line-up, Corder said: “I suppose it does.
“Them players add a lot of attacking form to their team. I thought (the Four Nations final) was tough – it was in the balance early on in that final and we scored a couple of good tries.
“But it was a tough game early on. The likes of Roger and Kieran and a couple of new faces, they’re players that are in form, it’s definitely going to be a lot harder.”
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