Desperate Kiwis aim to avoid sweep
They may only have pride to play for in England but senior prop Jesse Bromwich is confident the Kiwis are still on the right track under Michael Maguire.
After arriving in the UK full of hope following last month’s win over Australia, the Kiwis now find themselves heading into the third and final test against England desperate to avoid a clean sweep.
While New Zealand have not been far off the pace, their performances have been characterised by a lack of composure and execution, with lapses in concentration costing them dearly at the back end of both tests. Bromwich played a key part in the last successful Kiwis period in 2014-15, when they won the Four Nations and recorded three-straight victories over the Kangaroos. Despite their inability to finish the job in England, the Storm front-rower sees similarities with the way the current squad is united behind Maguire and the level of professionalism the coach is trying to instil. But only time will tell if they are able to learn from this experience.
‘‘We’re definitely heading in that direction,’’ Bromwich said. ‘‘Madge [Maguire] is doing a great job and all the staff are working overtime trying to get us prepared as best they can.
‘‘It’s a really professional environment at the moment and something that I’ve really enjoyed. We haven’t got the results but, gees, we’ve put some effort in and hopefully that’s just around the corner.’’
A win at Elland Road on Sunday (Monday) would certainly help boost morale heading into the off-season.
The Kiwis have struggled to convert attacking opportunities throughout the series but Bromwich said they would not be revamping their style.
After making 11 errors at Anfield last week and completing under 70 per cent of their sets, he said there was no secret as to where they need to improve.
‘‘We’ve put in a lot of effort which is a credit to all the boys but we’ve just been doing some silly things,’’ Bromwich added. ‘‘Last week we had six errors at the back end of the second half . . . you’re never going to win a football game giving away that much possession.
‘‘If we fix that up we’ll be a much better team and hopefully we can go out this week and complete well, compete and play some good football.’’
After making just one change for the second test, Maguire may use this weekend’s game to blood younger squad members.
NRL rookie of the year Jamayne Isaako is in contention to replace wing Jordan Rapana, who was forced to return home due to a dislocated shoulder.
Bromwich was full of praise for Isaako and all the rookies in the squad but, as a forward, it was Warriors back-rower Isaiah Papali’i who had particularly caught his eye.
‘‘He hasn’t had a game yet but I’ve been impressed by the way he goes about his business for such a young guy. He was the captain of the Junior Kiwis, played well in that game and he’s impressed me with the way he does the little things, looking after himself off the field and training hard on the field.’’
Jesse Bromwich and the Kiwis have endured a disappointing series.