The New Zealanders are expected to give the Kangaroos a game here and the result could go down to the wire.
Coach Stephen Kearney will field one of the strongest Kiwis outfits in recent seasons and what’s more a lot of their players are in in outstanding form in the NRL.
The value is definitely with them to upset the apple cart here but it’s something they haven’t done in the past four games.
Australia will find it a little more difficult than most punters expect with their forward stocks thinned slightly thanks to injuries to Matt Scott, Aaron Woods and Shannon Boyd.
Australia has plenty of depth in a number of positions, however, can Johnathan Thurston actually be replaced?
The answer is probably not and with JT out of action since limping off against the Tigers a month ago, coach Mal Meninga is sweating on the fitness of his gun playmaker here.
All media reports suggest he will play despite his calf complaint.
If he doesn’t line up then James Maloney could be called in to partner Cooper Cronk in the halves. Thurston isn’t the only injury concern for Meninga with Darius Boyd failing to complete training on Tuesday.
This could be the best chance New Zealand have had to beat Australia for some time.
Kearney welcomes back Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to the squad while Russell Packer will wear the Kiwi jersey for the first time in six years in a well-deserved recall.
The form of Foran since linking up with the NZ Warriors has been what you would expect from a champion half and he has them going in the right direction. Make no mistake, he is the key to New Zealand’s chances in this ANZAC Test.
Australia handled the Kiwis in all four clashes last season.
Although New Zealand won three straight over the Kangaroos in 2014-15, it’s been all the Aussies since then and by a considerable space. They outscored the Kiwis 90-22 in those matches and that includes a 16-nil result in this fixture 12 months ago.
The last time these teams met were in the Four Nations Final at Anfield in November last year where Australia blew New Zealand away 34-8.
This game is being played in Canberra and New Zealand don’t have the best record when it comes to playing on Australian soil. They have won just two of their past nine in Oz.
We know that punters love value so we are banking on the fact New Zealand ($3 @ William Hill) will give Australia one hell of a scare.
It’s probably a bit unpatriotic of us to back against our own team but we feel the Kiwis are the value option in this game and if you don’t want to back them straight out, have something on them at the Line at the very least.
Where the game could be won is in the forwards and while the Aussies have a formidable pack, New Zealand has some gun big boppers including the in-form Jason Taumololo, Russell Packer, captain Jesse Bromwich and Marty Taupau.
All three of those players have been in sensational club form and if they bring that into this match then they will give their halves some much needed space to set up their outside backs. With the likes of Jordan Rapana, Tuivasa-Sheck and Jordan Kahu among those who could feature, the Australians will have their cut out containing this side.
It’s a big call to ride off a champion side like the Kangaroos, especially one that has been victorious in 39 of its past 45 Test matches.
While we aren’t saying they can’t win we just don’t think the $1.40 is a good price about their chances.
NEW ZEALAND +7.5 LINE