New Zealand’s Bryson Goodwin is expecting a tough physical challenge from Samoa in their opening Rugby League World Cup match at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Sunday (6.00pm), though admits that this time last year, he thought he would not make it to the tournament.
Goodwin’s recent past has seen him struggle with injury but a solid season with NRL club South Sydney Rabbitohs has earned him the opportunity to help New Zealand defend their title, though he admits it is tough playing in a squad with such strength in depth.
“I feel on top of the world right now,” said Goodwin. “I am really pleased to be back representing New Zealand again and playing for the Kiwis, so I am just trying to make the most of it while I am over here and have a good time.
“I didn’t think I would be here this time a year ago, but I started playing at Souths, started working with the coaches there, and they gave me a lot of confidence so I am here now.
“It will be a very physical game against Samoa. They are always tough to play against so we will be up for it, though they will be as well. We will put in a good performance and try and get the win.
“No position is safe, you have to play well each week otherwise someone will take your spot.
“It brings a quality to the training because everyone is fighting for a position and you need to train well to play well, plus everyone wants to show their worth.
“There is so much depth and talent in this squad, so we have got a good chance if we play well.”
New Zealand rounded off their preparations for RLWC2013 with a commanding warm-up match win over Cook Islands, beating them 50-0, though Goodwin believes that the Kiwi squad can still improve.
“We are really pleased to have put in a really good performance on the weekend but I think that we have got a lot of improvement in us too,” said Goodwin.
“There are just a few little things in our game like the kick-chase and a few little things in defence. Most of the boys haven’t played in six or seven weeks so I think that it will come in time.
“The weather is a bit different to back home, and it is a bit more work but it helps when you have got a really good team, it makes everyone else play well.”
Kick-off time: 6pm Sunday 27th October (Local Time), Sydney (Australia – New South Wales) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 5:00:00 AM, Brisbane (Australia – Queensland) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 4:00:00 AM, Auckland (New Zealand) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 7:00:00 AM, Apia (Samoa) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 8:00:00 AM
Kiwis team to take on Samoa
1. Josh Hoffman
2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
3. Dean Whare
4. Bryson Goodwin
5. Manu Vatuvei
6. Kieran Foran (Vice-captain)
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Issac Luke
10. Jesse Bromwich
11. Frank Pritchard
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Simon Mannering (Captain)
14. Elijah Taylor
15. Sam Kasiano
16. Sam Moa
17. Frank-Paul Nu’uausala
18. Greg Eastwood
19. Ben Matulino