New Zealand Kiwis V Australia Kangaroos – Mount Smart Stadium. 19.30NZT Saturday October 13
With the National Rugby League season behind us, here comes the small international window for rugby league.
The New Zealand Kiwis host the Australia Kangaroos at home, in what is a triple header, as the Junior Kiwis play the Junior Kangaroos, and the Kiwi Ferns play the Jillaroos in what is an absolute spectacle for league fans.
The Kiwis play their second test under coach Michael Maguire. They’ve also named Penrith favourite Dallin Watene-Zelezniak as captain. A decision most people didn’t see coming, except for the coach himself.
Both sides have plenty of fresh faces. The Kangaroos are sporting four debutantes in James Tedesco, Damien Cook, Latrell Mitchell, and Luke Keary.
The Kiwis have two debutantes in Joseph Manu, and Brandon Smith.
This New Zealand side looks almost entirely different to the one who took the field in Denver against England, with plenty of experienced players donning the black and white against Australia, and for the test series versus England.
Australia would be favourites, I’m sure. Especially after being crowned world champs last year, and with the capitulation of the Kiwis over the last year has only worked in the favour of the green and gold.
New Zealand should take pride in hosting the Australians on home soil, it’s about as rare as a test match victory over them too.
If I’m coach Michael Maguire, I’m looking to the leadership of Jesse Bromwich, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, and Adam Blair to do their bulldozing best.
Shaun Johnson and Kodi Nikorima thrive off having go-forward, much like any halves pairing. If they want to do their best, then the forwards have to deliver.
Then the likes of Joseph Manu, and Jordan Rapana can do their part in attack to get points on the board.
Mal Meninga has an abundance of talent in his ranks. A forward pack bolstered by Felise Kaufusi, Jordan McLean and Tyson Frizell. Three players that are renowned for running hard and breaking tackles.
Luke Keary and Daly Cherry-Evans are a brand new halves pairing, with plenty to offer.
There’s plenty of try scoring options in the backline with Tedesco, Gagai, Mitchell, Trbojevic, and Holmes.
It’s hard to go past any other result than a Kangaroos win. They’re just an absolutely stacked side of form players.
The Kiwis have to give it their all, or else they might be on the end of another embarrassing loss.
Take the Kangaroos by 1-12, but expect the Kiwis to score first.
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