NRL veteran Phil Gould has blasted the selections and performance of the Kangaroos for a 'lazy' effort after their humiliating 30-0 defeat to New Zealand on Saturday. Captain James Tedesco and his teammates have copped plenty of criticism after they were left embarrassed with New Zealand dominating from start to finish in the biggest lost in the nation's history.
Questions are being asked of Mal Meninga's selections with the like of Tedesco struggling for form all year, but retaining his position. NRL great Cooper Cronk called out the Kangaroos for their 'complacency' in the final, which was echoed from five-eighth Cameron Munster.
'NOT MEANT TO': New Zealand coach's staggering confession after win
The Melbourne Storm leader was honest in his review of the game and admitted the team didn't match the energy of New Zealand throughout the contest. And Gould didn't hold back after taking some time to give his thoughts on the game.
Gould questioned the selection of players for the Pacific Championship tournament and said the final was 'embarrassing' for the Kangaroos. "Kiwis clearly learned a lot from the week before. They changed their mindset and their game strategy," Gould said on social media.
"Brilliant performance. Just goes to show what more football at this level can do for you. It looked like Australia learned nothing from their win the week before.
"Lazy performance would reflect a lazy and complacent preparation. Maybe even a complacent selection process. Anyway, that’s for smarter people than me to work out. Australia produced an embarrassing performance. Someone has to put their hand up and take some responsibility.
Only got to watch a replay last night. I was in Derby Day mode on Saturday. Kiwis clearly learned a lot from the week before. They changed their mindset and their game strategy. Brilliant performance. Just goes to show what more football at this level can do for you. It looked… https://t.co/2Vp7PKGgGI
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) November 6, 2023
"Full credit to Kiwis. They did their homework and displayed the kind of effort and passion your National jersey should inspire. The more Test football they play, the better they will get too. Well done." Munster did admit Australia may have been complacent after a 36-18 win over New Zealand the week before.
"A little bit of complacency," Munster told Channel Nine after the match. "We knew they were going to come out hard but we didn't battle their energy or enthusiasm." Gould called the selection process, which has certainly caused controversy heading into the Pacific Championship final.
James Tedesco's Kangaroos position under fire
While there was plenty of criticism of Meninga's team selection ahead of the championship, most of it centred around captain Tedesco.
The decision to retain Tedesco in the No.1 jersey came under fire after a lacklustre season, which also saw him criticised for his Blues performances in State of Origin. The 30-year-old's form has dipped in 2023 with a number of fullbacks clearly ready to take over the No.1 position.
Reece Walsh remains the favourite candidate to take over Tedesco after a stunning 2023 season for the Maroons. Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards was also in the squad, but played out of position on the wing throughout the championship.
And fans echoed Gould's criticism and questioned whether changes will be made going forward.
I absolutely adore James Tedesco as a player.
He is IMO in the top 5 fullbacks I’ve ever seen & has done it all.
Unfortunately i think his days as a representative fullback are over.
He’s lost that edge that separated him from the rest.
Time to call it a day Teddy.
— The Oracle (@BigOtrivia) November 4, 2023
Which @Kangaroos players should be the first to go after yesterday's embarrassment, peeps?
— The Mole (@9_Moley) November 5, 2023
When does Reecy Walsh get a run? FB seems to be a spot he can fill
— SRC (@esrcee) November 5, 2023
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