Rugby League World Cup: Greg Bird confident Australia can beat New Zealand in final
Last Updated: 28/11/13 4:55pm
Greg Bird: Australia forward confident of final victory
Australia forward Greg Bird is confident the Kangaroos can overcome New Zealand in Saturday's World Cup final at Old Trafford.
Bird believes the Kiwis are an even better team than the one that lifted the trophy in 2008 but he expects Australia to find their best form in Manchester.
"We had a bit of a bumpy start with the game at Cardiff, where the English came out firing and got on top of us early. But we regained our composure."
He said: "I think New Zealand are stronger than '08. Throw in Sonny Bill and lot of the Roosters forwards - Frank-Paul (Nu'uausala) and (Jared) Waerea- Hargreaves, they're in career-best form.
"They've been leading the way throughout this tournament. We've got to be better. We weren't better in 2008 but I'm confident we can get the job done on Saturday.
"We had a bit of a bumpy start with the game at Cardiff, where the English came out firing and got on top of us early. But we regained our composure.
"Since then it's been our goal to make sure our defence is the main priority in our game.
"We've got a team of superstars that can go out at any given time and rack points up. That's never a hard thing but defending set for set, consistently for 80 minutes, is one of the hardest things to do in rugby league.
"It will definitely go up a level going up against the old foe. They are always tough, tight battles and I expect this to be no different.
"We haven't won anything yet and we were probably lucky that we beat England. New Zealand have got one of the strongest squads they've ever put together so, if we come out and beat that, we can maybe listen to some of those comparisons."
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said: "Looking at their team, we're well aware of the calibre of player they have.
"We do start as underdogs but the lads are confident that, if they can bring their best performance on Saturday then we give ourselves a great opportunity."