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Johnathan Thurston at Kangaroos traininghttp://c1.puntersparadise.net/news/photos/Johnathan Thurston at Kangaroos training-1385784916_n.jpg

Thurston says Slater right to go at RLWC

Johnathan Thurston at Kangaroos training

Playmaker Johnathan Thurston expects Billy Slater to play in the Rugby League World Cup final after the Kangaroos fullback trained strongly again on Friday.
Thurston says Slater right to go at RLWC
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

MANCHESTER, England, Nov 29 AAP - Playmaker Johnathan Thurston expects Billy Slater to play in the Rugby League World Cup final after the Kangaroos fullback trained strongly again on Friday.

After returning to full training on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his left knee, Slater again ran out with his teammates in the match-eve session at Old Trafford.

Should he pull up well on Saturday morning, Slater will face New Zealand and cap a remarkable return from an injury suffered a fortnight ago that was initially expected to rule him out of the tournament.

"From what I saw from what he did on the pitch, he's looking the goods," Thurston said on Friday.

"Obviously he's had the week off and he'll be fresh and ready to play.

"He's such a professional in the way he prepares, looks after his body, so I think he'll be right to play."

Slater is one of a handful of Kangaroos out to make amends for the shock loss to New Zealand in the 2008 final.

The Melbourne Storm star's infamous wayward pass helped hand the Kiwis victory but Thurston insists redemption will not be a factor for Slater.

"He won't have any demons from the last World Cup," Thurston said.

"He tackles everything front-on so he'll be right to roll."

Thurston is confident Australia have done everything in their power to be ready for the final but admits the form of New Zealand's newly-crowned world player of the year Sonny Bill Williams is a concern.

Asked what sort of impact the dual international would have on the match, Thurston said "hopefully not much", with a trademark laugh.

"The competitor that I know he is, I know he'll be looking to set this game alight tomorrow," Thurston said.

"He's unfortunately on my (defensive) edge, so no doubt they'll be sending a lot of traffic my way.

"I've warmed up these big shoulders though, so I'll be ready to roll."

Thurston will go into the game needing just six points to break Mick Cronin's 31-year-old record of 309 international points but he said the milestone was not in the back of his mind.

"I don't play the game for records," Thurston said.

"It's a team game, I'm just preparing the best I can to make sure I don't let any of the boys down."




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