Australia go into Saturday night’s World Cup final against England as huge favourites after setting the competition alight over the past month; here’s the reasons why Australia will win.
Defence wins Championships
They say defence wins championships and we can extend this proven phrase to winning World Cups as well; Australia’s been the dominant side throughout the tournament and it’s their defence that’s been most impressive.
The Kangaroos have conceded just three tries through their six games and have yet to concede more than one try in the same game. This Australian side might be the best defensive side in World Cup history.
The Big Three
Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australian legends Cam Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater – ‘the big three’ – simply don’t lose.
After forming the competition’s most dangerous combination over the past 12 seasons, the big three will look to add another piece of silverware after winning the State of Origin, minor premiership and NRL premiership this season.
A home World Cup victory would be the perfect way to finish the season and the only achievement to elude the big three after losing the 2008 final to New Zealand.
England Don’t have enough points
Although the English have looked good at times under the guidance of master coach Wayne Bennett, the general feeling is that the Lions won’t be able to produce enough points to beat Australia.
Gareth Widdop has looked good at fullback and winger Jermaine McGillvary has had a break out tournament, but the England halves combination of Luke Gale and Kevin Brown have struggled for form and fluency.
The injuries to hooker Josh Hodgson and captain Sean O’Loughlin won’t help their cause either, with both players key to most of the Lions’ attacking raids.
Speed out wide
Whilst question marks hang over the Lions’ attack there’s no doubt how dangerous the Kangaroos have been with ball in hand. Australia have already posted 204 points this tournament, with their speedsters out wide doing most of the scoring.
Whilst the right side combination of Dane Gagai and Will Chambers have been dangerous, it’s been the left side of the Kangaroos’ attack which has really clicked. Winger Valentine Holmes has been on the end of the left-side raids, crossing for an amazing 11 tries in his past two games.
Cam Smith hints at retirement
Cameron Smith has won nearly everything the game has to offer, with the one blemish being the home World Cup loss to New Zealand in 2008.
Nine years later Smith has a chance to make amends and complete his collection; when asked about his future in rep football past this game, the captain hinted he may follow Jonathan Thurston’s lead and concentrate on club football next season.
If Smith is thinking of retiring from rep football that will be more reason to win this match and the World Cup.