Australia v New Zealand Rugby League

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Australia beat New Zealand 20-12 in the ANZAC Test this year. Image courtesy of
Just nine players from the side that won the ANZAC Test against New Zealand  earlier in the year will lineup for Australia  in the end of season Test Match between the two sides at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night. With several regulars out injured, a host of players get another chance in the green and gold, with the Morris brothers, Tony Williams and Ryan Hoffman all earning recalls. After missing the ANZAC Test through injury, Matt Scott joins Cowboys teammate James Tamou in the front row on his home ground.

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney has name three debutants in his side, with Bulldogs giant Sam Kasiano, Sea Eagles centre Dean Whare and Melbourne backrower Kevin Proctor all set to make their debut for the national side. Eight players have been given the opportunity to get revenge for their defeat in April, including Tigers half Benji Marshall, who has been retained as captain.

History - Australia will be looking for a fifth straight win against New Zealand when the sides meet in Townsville. The Kangaroos have an imposing record against the Kiwis, having lost only two of the past seventeen matches between the pair. When the pair locked horns in the ANZAC Test at Eden Park in Auckland earlier this year, Australia scored a 20-12 win, while the corresponding match last October resulted in a 42-6 drubbing for the Kangaroos at Newcastle’s Ausgrid Stadium.

Dangermen – Billy Slater  was instrumental in the Storm’s charge to the premiership at the end of the NRL season, scoring four tries in Melbourne’s three finals matches. His always performs at his best when pulling on the green and gold and will be sure to pose plenty of problems for the Kiwis.

Despite having an indifferent season for Wests Tigers, New Zealand skipper Benji Marshall  always lifts when representing his country and will be determined to finish the year with a good performance.

Prediction – Australia has an enviable record against New Zealand and it is hard to believe that they won’t extend it in Townsville on Saturday night. Several important Kiwis players having been out of action for over a month, while the Kangaroos key players have all been involved in the finals. With match fitness and the steamy conditions in North Queensland likely to suit it is hard to look past the home team. Australia 13+

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