Fifita the NRL's 'iron-man'

Again selected in the 20-man Kangaroo squad to take on the USA in the World Cup quarter final on Saturday, Sharks prop Andrew Fifita is the undisputed 'iron man' of the NRL.


Fifita, who has played in all three World Cup matches for Australia in the tournament thus far, will run out for his 34th game of 2013, putting him one match ahead of Darius Boyd of the Knights and Keiran Foran from Manly.


In racking up 33 games prior to this weekend's clash, Fifita played the NRL All Stars match in February, in the City-Country Origin game, before representing the Blues in all three State of Origins. Add to that 25 matches for the Sharks, with the only game he missed being due to his Origin commitments, before the three World Cup games in the UK.


It is an impressive statistic for the 118kg front rower, as explained by Sharks coach Shane Flanagan in an interview with Dean Ritchie in the Telegraph today, made all the more impressive by the fact that Fifita also stays on the field for extended periods when compared to other front rowers now playing the modern game.


"Andrew has a big motor and can move around the field," Flanagan said. "It's not so much how many games he has played but how many minutes. He plays big minutes."


Alongside Fifita this weekend will again be his club skipper Paul Gallen who has also been given the call by coach Tim Sheens to play his fourth game of the World Cup campaign.


At this stage a 20-man squad has been selected for the Kangaroos, with Gallen likely to be considered for the front row and lock positions having played both roles so far in the tournament.


Luke Lewis, the third Sharks player in the Australian squad, has arrived back in Australia and will take no further part in the World Cup. Lewis will have surgery this week on the shoulder injured when he collided with sponsoship fencing in his teams victory over Fiji.


The Australian squad for the quarter final match against the USA is:


Cameron Smith (c), Paul Gallen (vc), Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Chery-Evans, Boyd Cordner, Cooper Cronk, Andrew Fifita, Jarryd Hayne, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris, Nate Myles, Josh Papali, Corey Parker, Matt Scott, Billy Slater, James Tamou, Brent Tate, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.