Australia Kangaroos V New Zealand Kiwis – GIO Stadium – Kickoff time: Sometime after 10pm tonight, no one ever really knows the exact time.
Once again the ANZAC test is among us. The Kiwis will be bitter after being pantsed by the Kangaroos four times last year, bringing them down to second in the world after a disappointing 2016 campaign internationally.
The Kangaroos are loving life with Mel. Arguably the greatest representative coach for Queensland, his dominance in that period has rubbed off on his green and gold players too.
David Kidwell was under a lot of pressure I believe to name a Kiwis squad that was going to be able to compete against the world’s best. He has.
One through 17, the Kiwis look pretty damn good. They’ve got some of their best players back. They have players who are more importantly playing for this team in good form also. This is beneficial.
The Kangaroos were battered in the last round of the NRL, with a few of their key players having to pull out due to injury or suspension. This will however have had very little interruption with such an experienced squad named.
Once again however, it smells like bullshit. Another snob for the Kiwis internationally, not having played an international home match since 2014.
There’s been minimal mind games, other than Meninga asking the Kiwis “where the bloody hell are ya” which is nice.
How the Kiwis will win it:
The most beneficial thing for this Kiwis side is their spine has been playing most of the season together at the Warriors. It’s all about building relationships, and when your four most important players also play at club level together, that’s only going to be a good thing.
Add to that a world-class forward pack that’s formed for this match. Kidwell has to be smart with how he runs the bench however. He’s let the team down in the past this way.
A smart coach will lead a smart team to victory. If there’s plenty of dominance early on, or if the Kiwis withstand plenty of heat from the Kangaroos – they’ll get their time to flex.
They need to execute too. Last year they failed to score more than 22 points in a match. So they have to believe they can cross the line.
How the Kangaroos will win it:
They’ve stuck to their guns. Majority of the squad was there when they won in England last season. That’s a confidence builder.
The Roos have also been formidable out wide. Plenty of try scoring options there. That’s such an incredible threat. Players who just know how to score tries.
The defining factor to me is Cronk and Thurston. JT is back from injury – has missed the last month of footy – but he could come out and have an absolute blinder. That’s how he does it.
If they can get some momentum and quick play the balls, they could end the Kiwis early on.
The winner will take some momentum and belief in to the World Cup at the end of the year.
I do think this is going to be a really good battle. Obviously hard to go past the Kangaroos. They’re always up for this type of match. It’s really so tight on paper, and I believe the score will reflect that.
I’ll take the Kangaroos by 2. Just believe they’ll have the top two inches to get them over the line in a tight one.
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