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'Brotherhood' driving fluid Wallabies after injury-ravaged start

Wed, 10/08/2022, 7:42 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies travel to Mendoza to face Argentina

Winger Jordan Petaia has praised the 'brotherhood' and culture driving the Wallabies to overcome a bevy of setbacks and changes.

Since the start of the England series, there have been 20 players made unavailable for selection for one of the opening four Tests as a result of injury or suspension.

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This does not include the likes of Izack Rodda, who missed selection altogether as a result of a foot injury.

With just three players starting every game this season (Rob Valetini, Nic White, Marika Koroibete), the team has struggled for continuity, particularly in the back three with four different combinations.

Despite this, Dave Rennie's men have remained solid, finding a way to come back and defeat Argentina 41-26 in Mendoza.

“We’ve had (Tom) Banksy in the first Test, myself in the second, (Angus) Belly the third and Quade (Cooper) last week so it is something we prepare for,” Petaia told reporters.

“You never know what is going to happen out there, so you have to prepare for the worst I think.

“We have a strong culture here, strong group of men that have built pretty sure strong traits that we follow.

“It is like a brotherhood where we will put our body on the line for each other, so I think that helps out on the field.”

With the backline constantly changing, with Cooper and Samu Kerevi the latest long-term injuries, the interchangeable nature of the backs has been a major reason for their success.

The likes of Tom Wright and Andrew Kellaway have been forced to make the switch mid-game to fullback, arguably producing their best performances of the season.

“I think that’s definitely one of our strengths is we’re so interchangeable and can all fill those roles,” Petaia believes.

“You saw with ‘Kells’ (Andrew Kellaway) in that first Test just how easy it was for him to slot into there and me coming off the bench.

“It’s good we’re building depth and players learning new roles, having to fill those roles when we need them to and a strength we’re building.

“I think (wing and fullback) share a lot of similar qualities. As you saw with (Tom) Wrighty, he slotted in naturally as well in those Tests where we had injuries, so it’s definitely a positive for us.”

Petaia is enjoying a relatively injury-free season, missing just three games in 2022, including an early concussion in the second Test against England.

The 22-year-old featured for the full 80 minutes during Sunday's victory, the first time he has done that since Argentina in 2020.

“I’m happy with how things are going touch wood, we’ve got a great S and C team here and they’re keeping the boys in top shape here,” Petaia added.

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