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Boyd happy with Anfield player safety

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Ian McCullough

Australia fullback Darius Boyd is hopeful the small in-goal areas on the Anfield pitch won't present too many safety concerns for players in the Four Nations final.

The iconic home stadium of Liverpool FC will be used for the first time for a major rugby league international when the Kangaroos take on New Zealand in Sunday's (Monday, 0130 AEDT) decider.

With the stands so close to the playing surface, the pitch has been modified to just 91 metres - nine shorter than what's stipulated in the international rulebook.

Extra padding has been placed behind the in-goals with the digital advertising hoardings that usually run around the perimeter of the pitch also being removed for this game.

Luke Lewis and Brett Morris were injured in two separate incidents during the 2013 Rugby League World after crashing into fencing behind the in-goal areas.

Lewis dislocated his shoulder when sliding for an attempted try on a rain-soaked surface at St. Helens and Morris was badly winded in a similar situation after sliding down a slope that runs off behind the goal at Manchester United's Old Trafford.

Boyd admitted there were some concerns by the players but said Mal Meninga and his backroom team have assured the squad everything has been done to improve safety.

"Mal's been pretty good with preparing us," Boyd said.

"He measured out the pitch at Coventry and it was a bit shorter and you could tell in London that the distance between the 30 and the 40 metre line was about seven metres.

"At Old Trafford three years ago it was bit dangerous when you were chasing a kick.

"It's a bit worrying but at the end of the day it's pretty special to play at a ground like Anfield where there hasn't been much rugby league played before."

Meninga will name his team on Friday (Saturday AEDT) with Shannon Boyd almost certain to beat fellow rookie Jake Trbojevic for the bench spot vacated by the injured Sam Thaiday.

Thaiday underwent surgery in London on Tuesday and has been joined by his family who'll travel with him to Liverpool to reunite with the squad.

The veteran forward was felled by the head of England forward James Graham last Sunday.

Thaiday isn't the first player to come off second-best to the head of Graham, with his England teammate Sam Burgess smashing his cheekbone during the 2014 NRL grand final.

Kangaroos forward Trent Merrin said the incident had been a point of discussion among the Australia players.

"It's the style that he plays and it's pretty bad what's happened to Sammy," Merrin said.

"But I don't really think you can do much about it ... unless you take him out of the game, which is never going to happen."

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