Wales v Australia preview.
Sheens keen to maintain momentum
Australia coach Tim Sheens is hoping his side do not lose their edge when they take on Gillette Four Nations rank outsiders Wales in Wrexham.
The Kangaroos booked their place in next Saturday's Elland Road final with handsome wins over their two main rivals New Zealand and England and will be aiming to maintain their momentum at the Racecourse Ground.
Two years ago, Sheens' men cantered to a 42-4 win over France in their `dead rubber' but were sluggish in the final against England the following week, trailing 10-6 until finding their gears in the last 15 minutes.
Sheens is aware of the danger of his team losing their battle hardness and has drilled home the importance of the match to his players.
"We did it in '09," said Sheens. "You are playing sides that are rated not as strong and then you have to lift yourself for the final.
"We know we're in the final but what we've got to do is play well, which we're focused on doing, to lead into next week.
"We're going to have to be disciplined and make sure that we don't let the crowd get into it.
"We're very confident in our own ability but this game is a very important one leading into the final."
Sheens has shuffled his team to rest key players and give run-outs to those members of his 24-man squad yet to have a game.
It means Test debuts for scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans and forwards Beau Scott and Corey Parker while Jharal Yow Yeh and Josh Morris will face off to determine who gets to fill the vacant wing spot in the final.
Wales' Australia-based forward Chris Beasley will hang up his boots after the game.
The 28-year-old Beasley, who spent four seasons with Celtic Crusaders from 2006-09, will be the third Wales player to retire from international rugby league after the game at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground.
Ian Watson, the 35-year-old Swinton scrum-half, confirmed after winning a record-extending 30th cap in Wales' 36-0 defeat by New Zealand at Wembley last Saturday that the game would be his last.
On Friday captain Lee Briers, the 33-year-old Warrington stand-off, announced that he will step down to join Iestyn Harris' coaching team and Beasley has announced that he is retiring from rugby league completely after Wales finish their 2011 campaign.
Beasley, who has spent the last two years with Central Comets in the Queensland Cup, a division just below the NRL in Australia, has been training to become a fireman and will now concentrate on his new career outside the game.
"With my job as a firefighter, as well as family commitments, it has become increasing difficult to train and play at the standard that is required to perform at a high level," he said.
"It will be a surreal experience playing against my country of birth but I think it will be the perfect way to end my career by testing myself against the best players in the world.
"Playing for Wales for the past three years has been the highlight of my career and something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
"To see us from where we were in 2009 when I started playing for Wales to now in 2011 with two European Championships to our name and playing and maybe not winning but holding our own against the three best rugby league countries in the world has been an unbelievable experience.
"It has been an honour to pull on the Welsh jersey and I just hope that throughout the eight Tests that I played I did it justice.
"I also want to say thank you to all of my Welsh team-mates. We are a close bunch and we have had some great times."
Briers, Watson and Beasley will all be aiming to bow out with their pride intact after Wales emerged from their clashes with England and New Zealand with considerable credit.
Wales have lost all 12 previous meetings with Australia and, although they are extremely unlikely to break their duck, Watson is confident the future is bright.
"I've had a fantastic time with Wales over the last 16 years since I first made my debut against USA in Philadelphia," said Watson, who is hoping to take his total of caps to 31.
"It's all changed since then of course but the one thing that's remained is all the players' passion for the Welsh shirt. The last few years especially have been really positive.
"It's been a massive boost to have been involved with all the young players coming through the ranks. I think that Wales have a really bright future."