Confident Smith eyeing 'special' Four Nations


Australia captain Cameron Smith believes the current Kangaroos squad has the potential to be one of the best he has played in.

Smith will lead his country in Friday's Four Nations opener against Scotland in Hull, with Australia starting the tournament as favourites to regain the trophy they lost to New Zealand two years ago.

Senior players such as Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott have been rested for the fixture against rank outsiders Scotland, enabling Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga to select five debutants.

And Smith is excited by the blend of youth and experience at Meninga's disposal, as Australia build towards a World Cup defence on home soil next year.

The 33-year-old hooker told Omnisport: "I've played in some very good Australian teams. You talk about the World Cup in 2013, that probably tops the list and what we did achieve out here in that final at Old Trafford [beating New Zealand 34-2].

"But I've been really impressed with the young guys that have come into our squad this year and even the older guys, the experienced guys, they've come off really good seasons in the NRL, they've got some good form coming into this tournament.

"So I like to think if we prepare well and we go and play our best football then we've got a good opportunity to do something special here."

Asked if Australia's squad is likely to be stronger still when the World Cup rolls around in 12 months time, Smith replied: "Yes, it could be and I think maybe Mal and the selectors have looked at it that way as well.

"They've looked ahead to 12 months' time and the next World Cup and they've seen an opportunity for those young guys to get in and get a little bit of experience.

"But as far as our squad is concerned, our focus is this tournament and starting well against Scotland."

Smith laughed off the suggestion Australia are on a revenge mission after New Zealand triumphed in 2014.

"No, not at all - we've got a new coach, an entirely new squad. It's not about revenge for losing that one," he insisted.

"It definitely hurt at the time, losing that final against the Kiwis, but a couple of years have passed now and we've had two good wins against the Kiwis so far this season. We're looking to build on that."