Wingers a good mix for Wallabies

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies wingers Dane Haylett-Petty and Marika Koroibete mightn’t seem all that similar to start with, but there is one thing they share.

The pair teamed up for a super try-saving tackle on CJ Stander in last weekend’s win over Ireland, but both were quick to push the credit on the other, in probably the most telling moments of the pairs’ shared attitudes to rugby.

“That was more Dane Haylett-Petty, who covered that tackle, while I just stayed underneath him,” Koroibete said on Thursday, three days after Haylett-Petty pointed straight to Koroibete’s contribution as the pivotal one.

The duo complement each other on the field, as well as complimenting each other off it, bringing different skill sets - Haylett-Petty as a second fullback, Koroibete as an explosive, powerful runner.

Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley said Haylett-Petty was a rugby thinker, deeply analytical and reliant on a routine of visualisation.

“The thing that surprised me about Dane, is how much of a thinker he is about the game,” he said.

“He's very methodical in his preparation and make sure he's covered off in every scenario, every scenario he'll find himself in the game, so he's already prepped there.

“He's one for big mental preparation too, visualisation and getting himself right. he's a man who's got a constant routine and he sticks to that week by week.”

Koroibete shows his instinct in every game, but it’s his work rate that has been lauded by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, something the 25-year-old said came with him when he left ultra-successful NRL club, the Melbourne Storm in 2016.

Marika Koroibete is keen to keep digging in for the Wallabies. Photo: Walmsley“For me, it's just a mental thing,’ he said.

“I just keep working, I just love being involved in the game and that's after the game that the trainer came to me and just told me how much I ran and how many metres I've ran and it's something I've tried to work on.

“I've been working since the Storm, it's more the culture I brought from the Storm, they work hard there and it's in me, I don't have to think about it, just go with it.”

Cheika said that work rate was one of Koroibete’s greatest assets.

“What he does do is he works so hard, he has got so many high speed metres in a game,” he said.

“He works hard and he loves his footy. Again, not perfect in all things, but his intent is really great to have on the team and his work rate is immense.”

It will be an extra-special weekend for Koroibete, whose parents, Iliesa and Sainiyana have flown out from Fiji for the match, the first Test they will see live, on a ground where he has starred in rugby league and union.

"It would be a good feeling to win playing for Australia there, especially with my parents watching me," he said.

"It would be more special to me.

"I've got some good memories at AAMI Park and, hopefully, I can make some more on the weekend.

"It feels like home for me and feel more confident playing there and, hopefully, I can get a try."

The Wallabies take on Ireland in Melbourne on Saturday June 16, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.