Australia hammered New Zealand in Melbourne and even though the final will be played on Kiwi soil, Australia look set for another comfortable win.
Australia were favoured by just 7.5 points in Melbourne last week but Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos never looked threatened.
It was a dominant showing that resulted in a 36-18 win. Australia had just a 51-49 possession edge but had seven tackle breaks to three, won the metre battle by 230 and kicked far more effectively.
To make matters more jarring for New Zealand, star props Payne Haas and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will return along with Liam Martin.
Michael Maguire may shake things up with Joey Manu moving into the halves while Kieran Foran’s spot at hooker remains a matter of contention.
Australia dominate the Kiwis in talent across the park. There is a major speed differential in favour of Australia in the centres. James Tedesco provides more at fullback than Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. Hooker is the biggest edge on the park with Hunt/Grant in a different stratosphere to Foran/Brown. The return of the Kangaroos props provides an edge there. The benches are chalk and cheese.
Australia have now won eight of the last nine Tests against New Zealand, including last year’s World Cup final. Six of those wins have been by at least 16.
Australia don’t lose big games. They are more talented than New Zealand. They are playing better football. They are better coached. This is only going one way.
Same Game Multi
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scored a sensational first try at international level and followed it up with a second while he has five in five games at rep level. He was unlucky to miss out last week.
James Tedesco has nine tries in his 12 Tests for Australia and looked rejuvenated after a small break following the Roosters’ elimination, proving plenty elusive.
Cameron Murray incredibly tied for the record for a forward playing in the green and gold with tries in six straight Tests when he crossed for the final try of the match last Saturday. This is a record that has been widely reported so they will be trying to get Murray over and he does have seven tries in his last six Tests.
Follow Betseeker for weekly expert NRL tips and predictions for the 2023 NRL season.