14 Oct 2018

Kangaroos wary of Tonga after Kiwis loss

1:42 pm on 14 October 2018

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga concedes Tonga will be fancying their chances of knocking over Australia after the world champions' shock loss to New Zealand.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga Photo: Photosport

The Kangaroos' new era began with a 26-24 defeat to the Kiwis at Mt Smart Stadium, an outcome which indicated there are set to be some growing pains after farewelling some of Australia's all-time greats.

Australia were toppled for the first time in 14 games and the Mate Ma'a will come into next Saturday's clash at the same venue spurred on by a sold-out 25,000-strong sea of red and white.

"We know what's coming. We know how committed they're going to be," Meninga said.

"We'll be ready for it physically and mentally ... I think they think we're beatable."

While Tonga are stacked with some of the best players in the world in Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and Tevita Pangai Jnr, a loss to a non-tier one nation would immediately place Meninga and his squad under immense pressure.

Meninga said he would resist the urge to make changes and bring in Reagan Campbell-Gillard or Tyrone Peachey after his side was beaten by the Kiwis for the first time Kiwis since 2015.

The 26-24 scoreline flattered the Australians after they ran in two late tries - scores that could not counter a glut of rudimentary errors.

"The papers tomorrow will be talking about how the Kangaroos are vulnerable," Meninga said.

"We're at a stage in our transition where we have a bit of work to do. But I can assure you we'll be ready for next week."