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Morgan to start against Kiwis in Coventry

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/11/2016 Ian McCullough

Australia coach Mal Meninga has confirmed Michael Morgan will start at five-eighth against New Zealand at Coventry in the Four Nations.

The North Queensland playmaker will line up in the halves alongside Cowboys teammate Johnathan Thurston with James Maloney impressing Meninga enough against Scotland to be named on the bench following an impressive debut last week.

"We'll start Michael Morgan just to get him into the game, he hasn't had much game time from the bench," said Meninga.

"Jimmy being the five-eighth he had a terrific game last week and we''ll get him into the game as soon as we can."

Meninga confirmed Matt Moylan, who was named on an extended six-man bench, will drop off with Jake Friend also likely to miss out.

However, the former Queensland coach hinted the Penrith star, who had a magnificent debut against the Scots, could feature against England next week in London.

"It's not likely he'll play this weekend, but I'd like to see him at 14, that is probably his best position but we'll see how that plays out in the future.," Meninga said.

"We'll get through this game and make some judgement calls for the England game."

Josh Mansour's serious tour-ending knee injury has cast a shadow over preparations for the game at the Ricoh Arena and Meninga confirmed plans are underway to fly over his wife to join him next week.

"Medically he needs to stay over here to let the swelling go down," he said.

"It's still early stages and we'll see what the club (Penrith) say, but at the moment we have great staff here looking after him.

"We'd like him to stay longer, but because of the injury we may not be able to, but we may see if we can get his wife over to join him for a few days."

Team: Darius Boyd, Valentine Holmes, Greg Inglis, Justin O'Neill, Blake Ferguson, Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), Aaron Woods, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Trent Merrin. Interchange: David Klemmer, Shannon Boyd, Sam Thaiday, James Maloney.

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