Back-row redemption for Kangaroos players

Last updated 20:28 03/10/2012

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Australia's plans to dominate New Zealand in the upcoming one-off Test will be fuelled by a back-row of redemption stories.

Injuries to Sam Thaiday, Luke Lewis and Anthony Watmough have  opened the door for a new-look back-row of former bad boys Greg  Bird, Paul Gallen and Nate Myles, all of whom have rebuilt their  images to be worthy selections for the October 13 game in  Townsville.

Cronulla captain Gallen is the benchmark for every NRL player  attempting to reverse a negative public perception.

Gallen was viewed as a player with a win-at-all-costs attitude  on the field - a reputation which peaked when he grabbed at the  stitches of the Gold Coast's Anthony Laffranchi in 2008.

Since then he's worked hard at changing that image, and the  Blues skipper is now one of the most revered and respected players  in the NRL .

Just 12 months ago Myles ended his time at the Sydney Roosters  on bad terms following one too many breaches of the club's alcohol  policy. Since then he's flown under the radar at the Titans and is  playing the best football of his career, winning the  man-of-the-series award as part of Queensland's State of Origin  triumph.

So too Bird, who has bounced back from his personal dramas of  2009 to resurrect his career at the Titans. Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens is looking forward to working with  his newly-formed unit.

''They've all played for me over the last four years. And they've  deserved their selection,'' Sheens told AAP.

''Although regular players like Lewis and Thaiday are out and  some other big name players are unavailable because of surgeries,  I'm comfortable with the group we've got. ''Birdy had a great State of Origin series as did Nate Myles for  Queensland. '

'Although they both finished early in the series they played  well at the back end of the season. ''It's not always where your team finishes obviously with your  own form.

 ''I think the boys have all been in good form and the selectors  agree. It's a bit of a new look but they're not going to let anyone  down.'' Coming off the bench will be Melbourne's Ryan Hoffman, himself  somewhat of a redemption story by making the Test squad in his  first year back in the NRL after a season in the English Super  League.

''He's matured since then, being overseas and had a great year  this year as well as having a great grand final,'' Sheens said.

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- AAP

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