There are no NRL Telstra Premiership matches this weekend but don’t panic footy fans as you will still get your rugby league fix through the international matches played throughout the weekend. Here’s our Preview and Predictions for the ANZAC Test match and the City vs Country match.
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Australia vs New Zealand (Friday 7:45pm AEDT)
This match has the World Champions, the Kangaroos, face off against the Four Nations Champions in the Kiwis. The match will be closer than expected with New Zealand always turning it on against Australia and the Kangaroos outfit has a few key players missing from their side. New Zealand have won their last two matches against Australia and are no longer intimidated by the prospect of facing them.
This match will likely come down to the form of the halves. Shaun Johnson is the golden boot winner but he has been unable to carry that form into the NRL season and has struggled for form for the Warriors, whilst Kieran Foran has been kept out of half to the Sea Eagles games through injury and when he has played he hasn’t been able to create as much impact as he normally does. These two always seem to find their best form for their country and they will need to again on Friday night.
On the other hand, the Cowboys and Storm are near on the top half of the table and it is no coincidence that their halfbacks have carried the sides. Cooper Cronk has been in superb touch whilst Johnathan Thurston has reached a new level and is being called the greatest of all time. If these two players combine and play their best football New Zealand could be in for a tough night.
City vs Country (Sunday 4:00pm AEDT)
The New South Wales State of Origin “trial match” will be played in Wagga this year with both sides producing a host of young talent. Last year Country blew a big lead in the final 10 minutes as City ran in three tries to tie the match. Therefore Country enters the match with their hands on the trophy but they are the outsiders.
The City side is stacked with players that are in form and that are real contention for a Blues jersey at the end of May. The key players will be David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita, Nathan Peats and Matt Moylan. These players will all one day play origin with Peats sitting behind Robbie Farah as the first choice hooker for NSW. Josh Reynolds will also be looking to make an impact in the match with his five eighth position in the side under serious doubt and if he has a poor match he can kiss being a part of Origin goodbye. The edge of Wade Graham, James Roberts and James Tedesco would be intimidating against any side with speed to burn and Graham being a former ball player, I expect points to be scored with this combination.
Similar to Reynolds, James Maloney will be looking to have a big match as his form has been questioned throughout the season and he wants to return to the Origin arena after missing out last season. Jack Bird has been thrown into the starting side after Jarrod Mullen was ruled out through injury. Bird will make his representative debut after only four first grade games. The pressure could get to the young player and unfortunately for him half of the sides spine will be playing out of position with David Mead at fullback, Maloney at halfback and Ryan Hinchcliffe playing hooker.
The City side will be far too strong for Country and I think they will win comfortably.
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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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