Meninga warns Kangaroos of NZ ambush

Mal Meninga says Reagan Campbell-Gillard is ready to fight fire with fire against a New Zealand side needing to prove a point after scraping through to this week's World Cup semi-final.

The Kangaroos meet the Kiwis on Friday (Saturday AEDT) with Campbell-Gillard back on deck to face a New Zealand side which eked out a quarter-final victory over Fiji.

The Kiwis have been unconvincing at times in this tournament and they have yet to play to their potential.

They didn't take the lead against Fiji until the final 10 minutes and Meninga warned his side they would be facing a different prospect this week.

"They probably got an awakening and it would've knocked their motivation back into place," Meninga said.

"Without being disrespectful, it's been quite an easy ride for the top teams in this tournament.

"That probably made them realise they needed to knuckle down.

"We are not under illusion to the challenge that's in front of us, they've got a really good footy team who will want to play well.

"We've got to combat that to come out on top."

Part of that combat will come in the shape of Campbell-Gillard, who missed the quarter-final win over Lebanon with a thigh cork.

The Parramatta forward will be tasked with taking down a Kiwis' side which boasts a formidable forward pack, including the likes of Nelson Asofa-Solomona, James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota.

"He's experienced, he was there in 2017 as well," Meninga said.

"He's the leader of the pack and he's looking forward to playing.

"He got unlucky the week before but he's an important cog in our forward pack, he brings that aggression for us."

Meninga said Ben Hunt would start at hooker with Melbourne No. 9 Harry Grant set to come off the bench.

Australia have won 14 of 15 World Cup games against the Kiwis, their only defeat coming in the 2008 decider.

Captain James Tedesco revealed his side would face down the haka in the shape of a boomerang.

The Kangaroos skipper said his side would have to be mindful of stopping Sydney Roosters clubmate Joey Manu running amok as he has done during the tournament to great effect

"I'm keen to play up against him, he is their main guy," said Tedesco.

"He's a big part of their team and he does so much work for them that it'll be a big job defensively to keep him quiet.

"Their whole spine can create anything and spark their team."