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Australia vs New Zealand Rugby League Test Preview and Team News - Kangaroos aiming for sixth straight win over Kiwis

Andrew Hendrie 10 Oct 2018
  • Australia and New Zealand resume their rivalry in a one-off Test match in Auckland on Saturday
  • Kangaroos have won the last five encounters between the sides
Daly Cherry-Evans of Australia

Australia go in search of their sixth straight win over New Zealand when the long-term rivals clash in a one-off Test match in Auckland on Saturday.

Australia and New Zealand will both field new-look sides as they square off for bragging rights in Auckland on Saturday.

One year ago, Australia went into their World Cup campaign with the likes of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith all playing, while the injured Jonathan Thurston was yet to retire from representative football.

However, 12 months on and the elite quartet will all be missing from the Australian setup after they each pulled the pin on their representative careers around the same time.

The Kangaroos have been forced to establish a fresh spine as a result, with debutants James Tedesco, Damien Cook and Luke Keary coming into the team on Saturday, while Daly Cherry-Evans returns to the Australian setup at halfback.

Tedesco has been one of the form players in the NRL over the last couple of years and will have the benefit of already-established combinations with Roosters Grand Final winning teammates Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner and Keary, while NSW Origin teammate Cook has been rewarded for a tremendous season with the Rabbitohs.

New Zealand have also been forced into a couple of changes in their spine, with skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to lead from fullback in place of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, while Melbourne’s Brandon Smith debuts at hooker and Shaun Johnson shifts to five-eighth to accommodate Kodi Nikorima at halfback.

The Kiwis enjoyed a fruitful period of form against Australia in 2014 and 2015, snapping a nine-match losing run to win the Four Nations final in Brisbane in 2014, while they backed that win up with a clinical 26-12 victory in the ANZAC Test in 2015 - the only time the nations faced off that year.

However, Australia have won all five meetings since, including avenging that 2014 Four Nations defeat by winning the 2016 showpiece 34-8 in England. This will be just their second encounter since 2016, with both teams fielding new-look sides. Home advantage should help the Kiwis, but the Australian team is the side with form players and Grand Final winning figures - I expect the Kangaroos to come away with a comfortable win.

Stats


  • Australia have won the last five meetings between the teams
  • The Kiwis won their last clash in New Zealand back in 2014
  • Australia won their last encounter 30-12 in Canberra in 2017

Teams


Kiwis: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (c), 2. Ken Maumalo, 3. Esan Marsters, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Brandon Smith, 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Isaac Liu, 13. James Fisher-Harris

Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich, 15. Leeson Ah Mau, 16. Martin Taupau, 17. Adam Blair, 18 Peta Hiku, 19. Jahrome Hughes

Kangaroos: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Dane Gagai, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Tom Trbojevic, 5. Valentine Holmes, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (vc), 8. David Klemmer, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Felise Kaufusi, 13. Josh McGuire

Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt, 15. Jake Trbojevic, 16. Tyson Frizell, 17. Aaron Woods, 18. Tyrone Peachey, 19. Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Tips



NSW BOOKIES Australia

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Australia vs New Zealand Rugby League Test Preview and Team News - Kangaroos aiming for sixth straight win over Kiwis

Australia go in search of their sixth straight win over New Zealand when the long-term rivals clash in a one-off Test match in Auckland on Saturday.

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