EXPERIENCED warrior Sam Thaiday says pride and fresh memories of walking off the field as losers to New Zealand in last year's Four Nations grand final will drive him and the Kangaroos in tomorrow night's Anzac Test at Suncorp Stadium.
"It's not a great feeling losing any match," said Thaiday, who will pull on the green and gold for the 25th time.
"You never want to lose a Test match. You go out there playing for your country, your family is sitting in the stands and you want to make sure they are proud of you.
"It's pretty devastating when you lose."
Until the last few weeks, Thaiday, who is expected to ink a new deal with Brisbane within the next week, had been starting off the bench for Brisbane, but Kangaroos selectors clearly want his input against a physical New Zealand from the kick-off.
"That's the role I have been playing for Brisbane, but it's a great reward to be selected in the Australian team and to be in the run-on team as well," he said.
"It showed if you work hard on the field, the rewards will come."
Thaiday said Bennett's tough call hurt him initially, but he answered the criticism on the field.
"When Wayne came to the club (this season) he wanted to change the culture and make sure everyone was accountable for their job," he said.
"It did hurt initially, but I didn't want to stew on it and walk around kicking tins. I had to get over it and make sure I was doing my job and playing good footy for the Broncos.
Thaiday's aggressive game against Sydney Roosters intimidator Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in round six won over a lot of fans, including Bennett.
"That was part of the game plan. We had to get amongst their forwards and that's what you want to do every week, you want to have that one-on-one battle, you want it to be their forward pack verse our forward pack and usually whoever wins that, wins the game."
Despite being a member of the last two Australian teams to be beaten by New Zealand in the Four Nations, Thaiday was not buying into suggestions the Kiwis had found the key to beating the Kangaroos.
The last time New Zealand beat Australia in three successive games was back in 1953 and if the Kangaroos lose on Friday night they could be deposed as the world's number one ranked rugby league nation later this year.
"We haven't been successful against them the last few games which shows Test match footy is still alive and healthy, and still very strong. If we walk into this game thinking it's going to be easy we'll probably get our hides handed to us," he said.
"We will show them the respect they deserve and have earned."
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