Australia Vs New Zealand
5 May 2017, 8:05pm (AEST)
GIO Stadium

Current Free Tip Record – 22 won-12 loss

As the majority of the players kick back and enjoy an early season week off, for all the good reasons, we are delivered some tantalising footy that is back to the roots. Representative round is a great initiative that has grown some legs and momentum letting the players from outside Australia and New Zealand their chance to perform for their nation. Let’s not get into the negatives this round and just embrace the games as they should be, so sit back and get ready for some passionate Rugby League, the Greatest game of all.
The first serving is Australian Vs New Zealand in the ANZAC test match, not played on ANZAC day. However the feeling will be in this game, a heavily criticised Australian team vs an impressive looking New Zealand team.
Australian, 1st in the RLIF rankings,
The Australian coaching staff has been absolutely hammered for their choice of players, going for “Loyalty” over “Form” by many commentators. With more opinions than there is sand, all that matters in the Australian camp is their belief in one and another. Yes, it’s that simple, under Coach M. Meninga the team has re captured some of the 1990’s early 2000’s form, where Australia was unbeatable. Australia has not lost a test match since 2015 and that’s having played New Zealand 4 times in that period. This will be a strong test of fortitude under Coach Meninga, as the press will be relentless, if his choices under perform this Friday night in the nation’s capital.
What can’t be argued is the pedigree he has chosen, with proven match winners across the park, in our opinion it will come down to the bench men. And Meninga has some monsters sitting on the bench waiting for their chance in this game. We are extremely excited to see the impact of T. Frizell, coming off the bench, we are expecting fireworks and then some. He has been in great form at club level and it’s his time to press for a Green and Gold starting position for later in the year.
We can’t forget about the Australian Captain in Mr Cameron Smith, in an outstanding career to date, he is the second person in History to play in 50, yes 50, test matches for his country. An amazing number, but like he has said “numbers just mean you have been around for too long”. We strongly disagree, he is the heart of this team and extremely humble which makes him the leader he is. Sure the backs get all ink in the history books for try scored etc, but if the books could be written about determination and leadership well, we could sink the titanic with his story. An outstanding career, which could go on for a few more years yet, watch him take control of the middle third and slowly work the opposition around to his teams strengths. He will then strike and deliver the perfect touch to get Australia ticking along.
Our bold prediction, Australia to have early possession and territory, with a short pass to A. Fifita to crash over for the first try.

New Zealand, 2nd in the RLIF rankings,
What a luxury it is to have the National teams spine (players 1,6,7,9) playing week in and week out at club level. This is a large advantage to New Zealand, as we have seen the development of these combinations the last few weeks. This may not show results on the ladder, but they are living and breathing footy together, add in the short preparation and it is a tick for New Zealand. With an impressive forward pack in great form at club level, there is cracking match ups across the park. M. Taupau has been near the best player week in and week out for the Sea Eagles and this game he won’t have to do it all himself. With J. Taumalolo at his metre eating best, S. Mannering aka the tackling machine and redemption man R. Packer, never taking a backwards step.
Traditionally where New Zealand has struggled in recent matches is the intensity from the bench. You know what is coming in the first 20-25 minutes, but if Australia can weather the emotion and physicality of this period, it could be trouble for New Zealand. With an extra two interchanges, there is a chance that they run with more “utility” options rather than “Beef” sitting on the side. Discipline is the key however, New Zealand really needs to play with a calm head, if they don’t the game will be taken away from them early and will make it hard to grind it back.
Our bold prediction for New Zealand, is a long range try off a Taupau offload to either half and R.T-Sheck to score.

Team news: (Final team lists released an hour before the game)
Australia is expected to run out 1-17, with both Boyd and Thurston expected to play despite being under wraps with slight injuries.
New Zealand has named a Squad, but we are expecting the obvious players to run out, with no obvious injuries being reported as they prepare in Sydney.
Their last 5 game report card:
2016 – Australia won by 26 points
2016 – Australia won by 6 points
2016 – Australia won by 20 points
2016 – Australia won by 16 points
2015 – New Zealand won by 14 points
What we take from this?
Australia has been dominate in their last 4 matches and not surprisingly this coincided with Coach Meninga taking over. He has brought his success from Queensland’s domination to the Green and Gold and is making the players “Rise” to new levels under his tutelage. The last time New Zealand won, was the last time K. Foran played for them, showing once again his importance to this squad. He will need to be at his best, along with Johnson, Taupau, Taumalolo and R.T-Sheck to keep them in this game.
For Us it will be a tight game, as long as New Zealand channel their discipline like Buda himself and take their chances it should be exciting from kick off to when the ground attendants round up the Penguins that reside in Canberra this time of year.

Free Tips:
Tip – Australia to win 1-12
Top markets – Big Win Little Win – Australia 1-12 $3.10 (Sportsbet)

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