Internationals 2016 Anzac Test Match - Gameday Chatter

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tajhay

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Australian Kangaroos v New Zealand Kiwis
Hunter Stadium
Friday, 7.50pm

With plenty of changes for both sides, Steve Kearney's Kiwis will be out for their second straight mid-season win over the Kangaroos and their fourth straight overall.

New Australian coach Mal Meninga has largely stuck with the tried and true with just a handful of notable exceptions while Kearney's squad has seen a major overhaul from the previous outing.



Much has been made of the unavailable players – three Warriors (Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson) have been excluded with regular rake Issac Luke not picked on form, five-eighth Kieran Foran on personal leave and star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck heading a huge injury list that also includes Simon Mannering, Peta Hiku, Dean Whare, Tui Lolohea, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and more. Shaun Kenny-Dowall has also withdrawn from the side with a foot injury, with Brad Takairangi to take his place in the team.

But the side named is still a powerful one with quality across the board. Young Penrith flyer Dallin Watene-Zelezniak finally makes his long-awaited Test debut after more than his share of false starts, Brisbane utility Kodi Nikorima is retained from the squad's recent Test series in England, Tohu Harris dons the No.6 jersey for the second time at this level, and Parramatta wrecking ball Manu Ma'u gets his first chance for his home nation.

For the Aussies, plenty of interest has centred around another Eel, Fijian flyer Semi Radradra, who debuts for the Kangaroos on the left wing while Brisbane's Josh McGuire (bench prop), Cowboys pivot Michael Morgan (bench utility) and Roosters centre Blake Ferguson (right wing) are the other Roos debutants.

New Zealand snapped a long run of outs in this traditional mid-season fixture last year, downing the Aussies 26-12 after 14 straight losses dating back to 1999.

That win actually came in a run of what is now three straight victories over the Kangaroos, including two wins in the 2014 Four Nations, meaning the green and golds haven't beaten the black and white since the 2014 Trans Tasman Test – the last of 14 straight victories over New Zealand.



Watch out Kangaroos: Size and power in the forwards will be the key for the Kiwis on Friday night. Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo is starting at lock and has been a menace over the past 18 months. Manly back-rower Marty Taupau coming off the bench is one of the most damaging edge runners in the game and debutant Ma'u is on the same level. New skipper Jesse Bromwich has claims on being the best prop in the world – his mix of size, strength, footwork, endurance and a late offload make him the full package as far as bookends are concerned.

Watch out Kiwis: Experience and skill in key positions. Australia's 6-7-9 continues to be one of the best ever assembled and Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith have been carrying Queensland and Australia to win after win after win ever since the irreplaceable Darren Lockyer's retirement. In-form Broncos custodian Darius Boyd is a more than fitting replacement for the injured Billy Slater at the back and there is no shortage of familiar faces in the pack to get the side moving forward.

Key match-up: Cameron Smith v Lewis Brown. On one side we have one of – if not the – greatest No.9s in history. On the other, a man capable of playing almost every position on the footy field and a bona fide Test quality player but one who has spent little of his club career at dummy half and will have an enormous job in front of him on Friday. Brown's defensive pedigree is beyond doubt but when it comes to controlling the pace of a game and taking good options from dummy half – one of the most important positions on the field and the position from where each play begins – Smith is simply peerless. Expect some straightforward one-out footy from the Kiwis to start with Brown going to his relentless battery of ball-runners to try and get the Kiwis started well. If the match is in the balance late, expect Smith to assert himself like few hookers can.


The history: Played 130; Australia 95, New Zealand 32, drawn 3. As mentioned, two wins in the Four Nations plus last year's Trans Tasman result have New Zealand 3-90 from their last three starts but it was eight straight to Australia before that.

What are the odds: Sportsbet has received slightly more individual bets on New Zealand but the amount wagered on the Kiwis only accounts for 10 per cent of all money invested on the match. Australia 13+ has more on it than all of the other margin options combined and Semi Radradra is the most popular in the first try-scorer market. Latest odds at sportsbet.com.au https://www.sportsbet.com.au/betting/rugby-league

Match officials: Referee: Gerard Sutton. Sideline officials: Jeff Younis and Shane Rehm. Review Officials: Ben Galea and Ashley Klein. Senior RO: Bernard Sutton.

Televised: Channel Nine – Live coverage from 7.30pm.

The way we see it: We were leaning towards the Kiwis to make it four straight until their latest wave of player withdrawals. Their forwards and outside backs are still mightily potent but not Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran, Tui Lolohea and Issac Luke casts some doubt on what Plan B is if Shaun Johnson can't conduct them to a victory. Expect a mighty tussle but we'll go with the home team to break their drought over their Trans Tasman rivals with a six-point win.
 
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jono_t2000

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7th Tackle just tweeted Kiwis run on team to be confirmed at 7pm Aussie time
 
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Tylz

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So pumped!!!! Go the kiwis!!
 
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Danpatmac

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we have been almost totally written off and with the withdrawls of key players I think that is fair enough...

However,

for some reason I think we are going to win. I am picking 24 - 20
 
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jono_t2000

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Only because its an away game im picking Aussies 26-12 :(
 
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tajhay

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Im expecting us to (hopefully) win a close game or be totally smashed.

Ill go 22-16 to us.
 
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Sup42

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Leaguegod

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I am on Kiwi win and Kiwi 13+ keep it tight as those Roo forwards are soft like jelly.
 
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Jay M

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I think we could win this on the basis of our forwards.

However, if (by some unforeseen reason) the refs favour the Aussies... we could be struggling... couple of early penalties to Aus could turn the tide...
 
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Huge test for Shauny J, as he needs to ignore the forwards, manage the game, and get it outside to the backs while having a great kicking game. Lot to ask...I believe that Nikorima is coming in at 6, so that ought to help.
 
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jonno

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Our spine is a worry. But we've got the best forward pack in the world. So I'm not too worried about an old style Aussie thrashing...

But if we win it will be very tight, and gripping, at the same time...
 
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Maddog

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Can't see us winning.. We have the forwards but Lewis Brown is not a good enough option at Hooker.. Hopefully Nikorima has a blinder.

If we had Foran and Nightingale I'd be leaning towards the Kiwis.. Just not enough experience or smarts in the backline in my opinion to match the Aussies tonight.

Aussie to run away with it the 2nd half +13 (Happy if I'm wrong!)
 
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Run_it_str8

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I hope Takairangi gets a run. Specialist centre. Knows Semi's game.

Harris at 6 is good imo as his defence will help SJ.

Nikorima can take playmaking duties on when he gets out there.

Eastwood might even fancy pulling a set move offload to a supporting Takairangi lol.

Ps. Loving that post by Taupau. Pride
 
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matiunz

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Our backline worries me a little bit but our forwards are pretty solid.
Most Aussies I've talked to are pretty confident of a win, I'm just hoping we show up like we did last time we named an unfancied side and give them one hell of a fight.
 
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JBmurc

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I really think the kiwis can do it as usually the aussies have talked up a easy win 20+ points ...yet they haven't be able to beat us with basically the same team ...
of course SJ has got to have a brilliant game,,which I think he will behind this pack ..... Defence wins games and we should have a brutal frontline D...

edges will of course be our weaker points ...still like we seen from the last warriors game I think the new boys will really lift to a new level ...

the utter disrespect for the kiwis 5-1 outsiders .. should be the acid that burns ...FUCK THE AUSSIES smash them into submission ....break tamou in two first 10min
put the fear of the tackle ...make them push the pass ...then we will win on the aus mistakes (turn the table)
 
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Run_it_str8

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Can't see us winning.. We have the forwards but Lewis Brown is not a good enough option at Hooker.. Hopefully Nikorima has a blinder.

If we had Foran and Nightingale I'd be leaning towards the Kiwis.. Just not enough experience or smarts in the backline in my opinion to match the Aussies tonight.

Aussie to run away with it the 2nd half +13 (Happy if I'm wrong!)
I'll be happy if you're wrong too.

Experience is in our forwards.

Beale, Kahu, and Nightingale may not be game breakers but SJ is. DWZ has x factor.

And SK has built a positive mana into the team.
 
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Sup42

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Get your beers in Lads its all on !!! GO Kiwi Women's side !
 
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