Scotland's Luke Douglas is tackled by New Zealand's Greg Eastwood and Adam Blair in Workington.
Scotland's Luke Douglas is tackled by New Zealand's Greg Eastwood and Adam Blair in Workington. Martin Rickett

Former coach can't see Kiwis beating Kangaroos in final

FORMER coach Frank Endacott has all but written off the Kiwis in their Four Nations final against Australia.

The Kangaroos will be overwhelming favourites at Liverpool's famous Anfield ground on Monday morning, after the champion Kiwis' dismal showing against Scotland and the tournament-ending injury to Thomas Leuluai.

After Australia crushed England, Endacott said the Kiwis would need the Kangaroos to have an off day.

"If Australia play like last night I can't see us beating them,” he told NZ radio.

He described the draw against Scotland in Cumbria as "one of the poorest displays I've ever seen from a Kiwi side”. He said they lacked just about everything - ideas, structure, finesse, discipline and enthusiasm.

Endacott, who is Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson's manager, said the playmaker might have taken better control once Leuluai departed.

"It should have been the signal for Shaun to stand up and direct the team around the park but in fairness to Shaun, the forwards didn't give him any platform,” he said.

Endacott agrees with Aussie greats Peter Sterling and Andrew Johns that Johnson is suited to the running role of a five-eighth rather than directing play, the traditional halfback job.

"Shaun Johnson is the one player who can win us a game and we rely on him a bit too much,” he said.

"Discipline will be a big area in the final. England lost through a lack of discipline. The Kiwis can pull it out of the fire with one terrific performance. But they are not performing great.”

Endacott expects coach David Kidwell to use utility Tohu Harris in place of Leuluai rather than rookie Te Maire Martin.

"He'll go for the experience of Tohu Harris although I don't see him as a five-eighth and never will. We're not carrying any other top halves there. It's worrying,” he said.