Date: Saturday October 25
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 6:30pm AEST

Teams

Australia

1 Greg Inglis 2 Josh Mansour 3 Michael Jennings 4 Dylan Walker 5 Daniel Tupou 6 Daly Cherry-Evans 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Aaron Woods 9 Cameron Smith (c) 10 Sam Thaiday 11 Beau Scott 12 Ryan Hoffman 13 Greg Bird Interchange 14 Robbie Farah 15 Aidan Guerra 16 Josh Papalii 17 Corey Parker 18 Boyd Cordner 19 David Klemmer 20 Sione Mata’utia

New Zealand

1 Peta Hiku 2 Jason Nightingale 3 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 4 Dean Whare 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6 Kieran Foran 7 Shaun Johnson 8 Jesse Bromwich 9 Thomas Leuluai 10 Adam Blair 11 Simon Mannering (c) 12 Kevin Proctor 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange 14 Lewis Brown 15 Greg Eastwood 16 Martin Taupau 17 Tohu Harris 18 Suaia Matagi

Form

Australia

ANZAC Test, New Zealand, 2/5/2014, W 30-18
World Cup Final, New Zealand, 30/11/2013, W 34-2
World Cup Semi, Fiji, 23/11/2013, W 64-0
World Cup Quarter, USA, 16/11/2013, W 62-0
Ireland, 9/11/2013, W 50-0

New Zealand

ANZAC Test, Australia, 2/5/2014, L 18-30
World Cup Final, Australia, 30/11/2013, L 2-34
World Cup Semi, England, 23/11/2013, W 20-18
World Cup Quarter, Scotland, 15/11/2013, W 40-4
PNG, 8/11/2013, W 56-10

Preview

Australia will go in as favourites to win their opening Four Nations match against New Zealand on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.  This is despite the departure of Jarryd Hayne just one day after being selected in the squad to play the series.  His replacement Matt Moylan will watch from the stands as Greg Inglis takes on the fullback role.  Josh Mansour and Dylan Walker are among five debutantes for the home nation with the notable absences of the Johnathon Thurston, the Morris brothers, Billy Slater and Paul Gallen.   Daly Cherry-Evans gets his chance to start at five-eighth.  He should have no problems partnering Cooper Cronk in the halves as the Queensland domination in this area continues.  Aaron Woods gets a well deserved call up in the front row.  There’s plenty of familiar faces in the pack with Smith, Thiaday and Greg Bird looking to take on the Kiwis head on.  Expect Inglis and Michael Jennings to be pivotal in attack once the game settles down after the opening stages.  This will be important with the fresh faces in the back line.  Australia are capable of putting on a score if they are in the right frame of mind.

New Zealand are ultimately looking for revenge from last year’s Rugby League World Cup Final where Australia ran away comfortable winners.  It could be said their line-up is more settled than the Australian side going into this clash.  They’ve received a late set back with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s International debut over before making it onto the field.  A broken foot will put him out of the series.  Gerard Beale his replacement on the wing.  New Zealand’s answer to Cronk and Cherry-Evans in the halves is impressive with Kieran Foran and Shaun Johnson.  If anything Johnson has the advantage with his natural talent to create opportunities with his unpredictability.  The Kiwis also have a strong pack with Bromwich, Leuluai, Mannering and Proctor capable of dominating the Kangaroo’s up the middle.  Out wide it could be Dean Whare with a touch of magic, Pita Hiku the try scoring machine and the strength of Shaun Kenny Dowall who could expose the inexperienced Aussie back line.

Previous Meetings This Year

The last time these two countries met was in the ANZAC test match played in Sydney on May 2 where Australia fought back from a half time deficit to beat New Zealand 30-18.  New Zealand will be keen not to surrender a half time lead this time.  Brett Morris scoring a double for Australia.

Prediction

This will be a close game but it just might be Australia proving too good against a tiring New Zealand outfit in the late stages of the game.

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