ENGLAND and Australia were forced to find alternative venues to finalise their preparations for tomorrow’s Gillette Four Nations final after being refused permission to train at Elland Road today.
While England switched their captain’s run to Headingley, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens kept his team’s new arrangements a closely-guarded secret.
“It’s a closed session,” he told reporters while his players held a familiarisation exercise at Elland Road.
England were due to visit the match venue this afternoon for familiarisation after holding their final training session at the home of Leeds Rhinos.
Sheens expressed his surprise at today’s snub, especially after all four teams were able to train at Wembley before the double-header a fortnight ago.
“It is a little disappointing,” he said. “When we got on Wembley, I was happy about that. We had four teams on.
“Obviously the groundsman has a bit more pull here than at Wembley.”
Australia vice captain Cameron Smith, who has played at Elland Road both for his country in the 2009 Four Nations final and for Melbourne Storm in the 2008 World Club Challenge, brushed off the disappointment.
“I know the curator is a bit touchy about his grass,” he said. “It looks in pretty good nick so I can’t blame him.
“Most of the boys have played here before. A lot of the guys were involved in the game here in 2009 and a few guys have played here in World Club Challenges.
“At the end of the day, it’s just another footie field and we’ve got to go out and play well on it.”