Cameron Smith, Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cooper Cronk, Andrew Fifita, Jarryd Hayne, Paul Gallen, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris, Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matthew Scott, Billy Slater, James Tamou, Brent Tate, Sam Thaiday, Johnathan Thurston.
Jesse Bromwich, Greg Eastwood, Kieran Foran, Alex Glenn, Bryson Goodwin, Shaun Johnson, Sam Kasiano, Kevin Locke, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Jason Nightingale, Frank-Paul Nu’uausala, Elijah Taylor, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Manu Vatuvei, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dean Whare, Sonny Bill Williams.
World Cup Results
Australia and New Zealand are undefeated in the tournament going into the final. Both of their closest matches came against host nation England.
England, Won 28-20
Fiji, Won 34-2
Ireland, Won 50-0
United States, Won 62-0
Fiji, Won 64-0[/table]
Samoa, Won 42-24
France, Won 48-0
PNG, Won 56-10
Scotland, Won 40-4
England, Won 20-18[/table]
Australia vs New Zealand Head-to-Head
Played: 125; Australia 93 wins, New Zealand 29 wins, 3 draws.
Last five: 19/4/13 Australia 32-12; 13/10/12 Australia 18-10; 20/4/12 Australia 20-12; 28/10/11 Australia 26-12; 16/10/11 Australia 42-6.
Hayne has stepped up this tournament and is the leading try scorer with nine tries. Not only is he scoring tries, but he’s backing up and looking to get involved in set plays. You get the feeling after a disappointing and frustrating season with the Eels that he will be determined to put in another solid performance to ensure the Kangaroos go home with the silverware.
Cherry-Evans will be the X-Factor coming off the bench. He just keeps getting better with each game he plays, following on from career-best form in the NRL finals series. In this type of intense match you could imagine Cherry-Evans will be at his best as the Kiwi’s tire with his skills on display.
A breakthrough year for Tuivasa-Sheck winning a premiership with the Roosters and now playing on the biggest stage in the World Cup Final. He’s got amazing speed and strength which saw the young winger cross over for eight tries, by far New Zealand’s highest try scorer. If he unleashes on the Kangaroos it’s possible the Kiwis will retain the trophy.
SBW’s return to rugby league was capped off this week after being awarded the International Rugby League Federation player of 2013. It’s been a well documented return to the code after walking out on the Bulldogs which has seen success at both club and international level. He possesses the obvious. Strength, skill and speed. The Kangaroos will be keen to put him on his back often but will need to be mindful in keeping that effort up for eighty minutes. He will win the game for the Kiwis if they are successful in knocking off Australia.
Australia and New Zealand will go head to head in the World Cup final at a sold out Old Trafford. It’s a replay of the 2008 classic that saw New Zealand take out the title in Brisbane. The Kangaroo’s have been clinical in their efforts during the tournament not conceding any points in their last three matches. You get the feeling that won’t be the case tonight with the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Shaun Johnson on the opposition side. The Kiwi’s had their one and only ‘out of jail’ card last week with a last play win over hosts England. They won’t be afforded that type of come from behind win against the Kangaroo’s. Both of these teams are full of talent and physicality. It may well come down to the bench players to decide this one and that could be where the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans could win the game.
With Australia’s impressive record against New Zealand head-to-head including their last five meetings, they deserve to be favourites in this event. But as New Zealand showed in the 2008 final, it takes a few moments of madness from the opposing side and a couple of moments of brilliance that wins games. Australia look very keen to take the trophy home and might just get away with this game in a close contest. Australia by 8.