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Klemmer puts hand up to be Roos' top dog

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/05/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Forget the gold - the Kangaroos forwards may as well just wear green on Friday night.

Injuries to key props Matt Scott and Aaron Woods mean Australia will field one of their most inexperienced forward packs in recent memory in Friday's Test against New Zealand.

Minus each team's respective hookers and bench utilities - the Kiwis' boppers combined 146 Tests almost doubles that of the Kangaroos' 74 in total.

Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich's 23 matches alone is still more than Australia's starting middle three in Andrew Fifita, David Klemmer and Trent Merrin, who all have six Tests to their name.

But that hasn't stopped Klemmer from putting his hand up to momentarily take over from Scott as Australia's forward leader and take it to the Kiwis' big men in Canberra.

Klemmer was arguably Australia's best forward in their Four Nations triumph, which included a powerful 170 metres in a whirlwind 31-minute stint in the final against their Tasman rivals.

The Canterbury prop credited Scott for what he described as a career-defining tour last year.

"I was a bit nervous especially coming into last year in the Four Nations squad, going away with all those high-calibre players," Klemmer told NZ Newswire.

"But Scotty was huge for me on that tour. He really helped my game and he's someone I could talk to, especially being a forward leader."

Klemmer, whose three kids will be in the stands for the first time since becoming a Kangaroo, said Scott had shown that the forward battle isn't always about bashing and barging.

Scott, a veteran of 22 Test matches and who has been in camp this week, would know.

"His actions speak louder than his words. He's a good motivator, but he does it on his actions. That's something that I'm trying to learn to do," Klemmer said.

"Obviously you've got to take that in. He's a good front-rower, one of the greats. Whatever he says, I listen to. I'm glad that he's in for the week because I'll obviously go to him more."

While much of the Kiwis side has centred on the return of star duo Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith said halting the Kiwi pack is key.

The Kiwis also boast reigning co-Dally M winner Jason Taumalalo.

"We've got a big job on our hands to contain those guys because that's the key to those big games - forwards get momentum," Smiths aid.

"It allows Issac Luke, Foran, Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to come into the game and do their own thing."

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