The NRL clubs all have a weekend off as the 2016 representative weekend kicks off this week. Continue reading for our Australia vs New Zealand Preview and Betting Tips.
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Australia vs New Zealand (Friday 7.50pm AEDT)
The Australian and New Zealand rivalry continues this week as the sides go at it for the first time in over a year. In the last meeting the Kiwis showed they were far superior but a lot has changed to their squad through injury and disciplinary reasons.
The Australian squad came under a lot of scrutiny since being announced as it concluded the Fiji born Semi Radradra. The winger only moved to Australian soil three years ago when he joined the Parramatta club but he has stamped himself as one of the best wingers in the competition and as he is eligible and thus should be picked. There has also been talk that Coach Mal Meninga has favoured Queensland players, as there are 12 Maroons and just 4 Blues in the 17-man line up. Meninga is of course the former Queensland coach that led the State to a historic eight straight victories.
Another big talking point in the side was the move of Darius Boyd to the wing and Greg Inglis back to the centres. Inglis has been a shadow of his former self and there is always discussion that he is running on tired and sore legs as he hasn’t had much rest over the last few years which suggests he shouldn’t be playing in this match at all and instead taking the week off for his and his clubs advantage. The Rabbitohs fullback hasn’t played at a high level this season and is lucky to be picked for the Australian side. However, he always does seem to put on his best performances on the biggest stage and it is a sign of faith from Meninga. Boyd has returned to solid form since moving back to Brisbane but he hasn’t been an instrumental figure in the Broncos squad and is possibly reaping the rewards of playing for one of the best teams in the competition.
Meanwhile the New Zealand squad has been named but the way the team will line up is still a mystery. Unfortunately for the Kiwis the side will be weakened due to injuries to key players as well as players not being picked due to disciplinary reasons that occurred last week. Veteran Kiwi players Ben Matulino and Manu Vatuvei missed selection for allegedly mixing sleeping tablets with energy drinks whilst Bodene Thompson could have been picked but will miss out for the same reason. Simon Mannering, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tuimoala Lolohea and Kieran Foran won’t be taking part in the match due to injury or personal reasons.
The New Zealand team will have to come with a simple game plan to beat the Australians as they still have a strong forward pack. It will be a big contest in the middle and the team that dominates the metres game will take a huge step towards winning the match. A lot of pressure will be on halfback Shaun Johnson’s shoulders but he has steadily returned to form throughout the season as he returns from a severe ankle injury. Johnson plays his best football on the back of a lot of go forward and momentum and Jesse Bromwich will be required to lead the way for his teammates.
The weakened side will be under a lot of pressure as they come up against an experienced Australian side that has only four debutants. They have a very stong left edge with Josh Papali, Inglis and Radradra all be attacking weapons that will look to combine with five-eighth Johnathan Thurston. The Kangaroos defence should be strong enough to hold out the Kiwis for long periods of time and as the New Zealand side is without the majority of their stars I have the Australians winning by a large margin.
As mentioned above, the Australians have a lethal left edge and I am predicting them to take full advantage of that as soon as possible. When Mal Meninga was coach of Queensland he loved to attack down the left hand edge and it contributed to Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd becoming the leading try scorers in State of Origin history. Taking this into account, it gives me confidence to assume that he will be looking to take that attacking plan into the International game and this will result in either Inglis or Radradra crossing for the opening try of the match.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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