WHEN Matt Scott was involved in the decision to drop North Queensland clubmate James Tamou for staying out in Townsville too late, he didn’t dream it would help provide him with an Australian team-mate for a Test down the road 18 months later.
“I thought I’d get a Kiwi bloke to play against!” Scott joked yesterday after a weights session ahead of Saturday’s trans-Tasman Test at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
“At that stage, he hadn’t announced who he was playing for. I’m very happy he went with us. I think everybody knew that
Jimmy had it in him.
“There’s no doubt that he’s got a wealth of talent. You’ve just got to look at the bloke. He’s an impressive sight. We knew he could play that level of footy. It was just a matter of getting him to do that consistently.”
Tamou, who controversially chose the green and gold over his native New Zealand in April, has cited his punishment from the
senior players’ group for breaking curfew at the Mad Cow Tavern 18 months ago as a turning point in his career.
Scott said: “Definitely after that, it was a bit of an eye-opener and he really got his life sorted outside of football.
Everyone can see the benefits of that this year.
“He was an average (behaved) young kid coming through and I think we’ve all been there.
“There’s no (suggestion) that he had issues or problems. It was just that fixing up a couple of things and once he got that right, that would transfer into his footy.”
Addressing the issue of motivation, Scott said players on both sides would “love to win just as much as a Four Nations
Meawhile, fellow prop David Shillington said players had discussed the importance of a victory in keeping coach Tim Sheens
in the job. Sheens is yet to be reappointed for next year in green and gold and has not announced if he will stay at Wests
Tigers in an alternative role after being dumped as coach.
“Tim mentioned it yesterday, saying we want to use this as a lead-in to the World Cup,” said Canberra’s Shillington.
“Hopefully we can win, have a bit of success now and in the Anzac Test next year and he keeps the same squad, we can keep
him as coach.
“And then leading into the World Cup, we don’t make too many changes, there’s plenty of fluency in the team and we all play
off the bat straight away.
“Yesterday, because it’s a similar team, I don’t think we dropped a ball the whole session and all the plays we did were
perfect. We didn’t need to sit down or learn anything. It’s a huge advantage if we can do that.
“We’ve lost a Four Nations and a World Cup in the last four or five years so we want to win them back.
“We’ve had (Sheens) for the last four years, the whole four years that I’ve played. It would be nice to keep him as coach.
We’ve had good success with him but there’s still room for improvement.”
Shillington said he would support proposals to hold an extended World Club Challenge at this time in 2014.
“I’d be definitely open to all those suggestions,” he said, adding that the winners of the Queensland and NSW Cups should meet on NRL grand final day.
“The World Club Challenge is testing yourself, the best of us against the best of them. It gives status to where you finish.
“I know the players talk about burnout and not having too many extra games but I’m sure we can give a little to get a little here and there.”
England wanted to tour this spring but were told to stay home because of an undertaking from the NRL to players for 2012 to