Meninga unhappy with Roos' preparation
Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has challenged his side to respond after a disappointing lead-up to their semi-final clash with Fiji.
The Kangaroos take on the Bati at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night but their preparation has been less than ideal, with Meninga describing their Tuesday training session as the worst of their campaign.
Australia cannot afford to be complacent and take it easy this week, with Fiji already proving their credentials after disposing of the second-ranked New Zealand Kiwis in the quarter-finals.
Meninga insisted that would not be the case, saying those types of training sessions were unavoidable after such a long campaign.
"It's been a bit clunky. I wasn't real happy with our session the other day. There are some things we need to improve on," Meninga said at Australia's captain's run on Thursday.
"We are heading in the right direction, but it was probably our worst training session on Tuesday so we have a bit of improving to do.
"It's not a worry, sometimes you need those sort of sessions to get you back to reality. We've been tracking really well.
"The players have been performing fantastically but sometimes you have those sort of sessions. It can be a bit of a reality check to get you back on track."
When quizzed about what was so bad about the way his side trained, Meninga said a lack of ball control was the biggest concern.
"There was a lot of dropped ball and a few mistakes. Things like that. That's not the standards we want so we need to make sure that every time we train we train with the right intensity and the right execution," he said.
"That's an important part of our rise and those values we are trying to uphold every time we do something as the Kangaroos. We need to improve in that area."
Despite the poor showing at training, the Kangaroos are still confident heading into this week's game after disposing of Samoa 46-0 in their quarter-final in Darwin.
The win may have looked easy on the scoreboard but the conditions made it anything but, with the temperature at kick-off sitting at around 30 degrees.
Meninga conceded the hostile environment may have taken its toll on his players, with many of his stars taking longer than usual to recover after dropping several kilograms during the match.
"I do [understand their fatigue]. We are at the back of the Darwin trip. They did extremely well through all that with our plan around the heat and the humidity," he said.
"Getting through that and the recovery after that really takes a bit out of you. There's no doubt about that so maybe we are still trying to recover out of that too."
If the Kangaroos are to overcome Fiji on Friday night, they will take on the winner of England v Tonga in the World Cup final in Brisbane on Saturday December 2.