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Quake affects Kiwis build-up to final

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/11/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

New Zealand's Lewis Brown (C) prepares to pass the ball during the Rugby League Test between Australia and New Zealand in Perth on October 15, 2016. © GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images New Zealand's Lewis Brown (C) prepares to pass the ball during the Rugby League Test between Australia and New Zealand in Perth on October 15, 2016. The north Canterbury earthquake has impacted personally on several members of the Kiwis team as they prepare for the Four Nations decider.

Utility Lewis Brown says Sunday's final against Australia was far from the players' minds when news arrived of the damaging quake which struck close to midday on Sunday (UKT).

The timing was soon before Australia and England met in London, a match which determined whether the Kiwis would qualify for the final in Liverpool.

The result went their way when Australia won but Brown revealed a lot of his team didn't watch the game, for various reasons.

For some, it was because of the news unfolding at home, with concern over the continuing aftershocks.

"Obviously it's a bit close to home for us," Brown said.

"The boys are a bit rattled. A few of them are from Wellington and some of them had families evacuated or friends who got evacuated."

Brown was born and raised in Christchurch and was quickly on the phone to family members.

Relief that nobody was harmed was followed by anguish that his home town is suffering again, nearly six years after the devastating 2011 Christchurch quake.

"The city's been through a lot. I just want it to give them a break. Everyone's wondering when it's going to stop.

"It's not very pleasant seeing things like that happen in your own backyard."

Brown is confident the Kiwis can put events at home to one side and focus on how to avoid a fourth loss this year to the unbeaten Kangaroos.

The scratchy 18-18 draw with Scotland on Friday compared unfavourably with Australia's impressive 36-18 dismantling of the English.

Brown says the Kiwis have struggled for consistency at the tournament and the Scottish performance was a step backwards from the opening 17-16 win over England and 14-8 loss to Australia.

"It's a wake-up call to be honest, maybe a blessing in disguise," he said.

"We haven't had a full 80 minutes of football. We have a lot of calibre in this side and we haven't put it together yet.

"Luckily enough for us, we get another bite at the cherry. But it hasn't been ideal."

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