Australian captain Darren Lockyer has expressed concern that complacency could see New Zealand get the upper hand when the two sides meet in the Tri-Nations opener this Saturday.
The Broncos and Queensland five-eighth has warned his team mates not to take the injury-hit Kiwis lightly.
"Last year there wasn't much between the two teams," Lockyer said.
"I guess with the squad we've picked, my biggest fear is that we get a little bit over-confident and get complacent. The moment we do that, teams like Great Britain and New Zealand are going to hurt us."
Kiwi coach Brian McClennan, who yesterday confirmed veteran forward Ruben Wiki as captain, called up Melbourne winger Jake Webster into the 21-man squad after Iosia Soliola withdrew with a knee injury. McClennan will be naming a 17-man team on Tuesday.
Webster joins North Queensland Cowboys hooker David Faiumu, Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei and prop Iafeta Paleaaesina in the squad. Faiumu's Cowboys' teammate and powerhouse prop Paul Rauhihi has also been named as has Wests Tigers centre Paul Whatuira.
Utilities Warriors Lance Hohaia and the Sharks Nigel Vagana are competing to partner halfback Stacey Jones in the halves, a problem which McClennan is happy to have.
"It makes the job of selecting the test side tough, but that's not a bad thing." McClennan said.
Lockyer's warning comes on the back of a tumultuous weekend for Australian and Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. Reportedly 'under the pump' at club level, Bennett had to overseer the sacking of three of his coaching staff, Kevin Walters, Gary Belcher and Glenn Lazarus, last Friday.
The 2005 Tri-Nations series kicks off this Saturday night, 15 October. Current champions, Australia will be fielding a typically strong side and start as warm favourites when both sides clash at Telstra Stadium.
More info: www.tri-nations.com.au
Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130