ANZAC Test Rugby League Preview
Australia v New Zealand

Friday, May 5, 8pm (AEST), GIO Stadium, Canberra

Australia and New Zealand do battle on Friday night in the traditional mid-season Anzac Test. Australian coach Mal Meninga will be keen to extend Australia’s traditional dominance of the mid-year Test while New Zealand will want to improve on their poor 2-7 record in their past nine Tests.
Selection Notes
Mal Meninga has stuck loyal with the players who got the job done in the Four Nations, but has had to make a few changes due to injury. Storm forward Jordan McLean has been selected as the new Kangaroos 18th man following the withdrawal of Shannon Boyd. Andrew Fifita moves into the staring side while Manly’s Jake Trbojevic has been promoted to the interchange bench. Fifita missed last year’s Four Nations tournament and will have a point to prove after he was called up for the injured Aaron Woods. The Kiwis have been boosted by the returns of Simon Mannering, Kieran Foran and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to the squad after they missed all of the Kiwi’s representative matches last year. The Storm’s Brandon Smith was a shock inclusion to make his New Zealand debut, while Storm teammate Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been ruled out with a hand injury, replaced by Elijah Taylor. Like Fifita, Russell Packer has overcome adversity and has won back his Test duty on the back of strong form for the Dragons.
Australia have returned to the top of the Rugby League pile under Mal Meninga with six straight wins including an undefeated 2016 Four Nations campaign. Under Meninga Australia have conceded just 8.7 points per game with a renewed focus on defence. New Zealand have won just 2 of their last 9 Tests after upsetting Australia in the 2015 Anzac Test with both those wins coming against England. An 18-all draw with Scotland was a low-point during last season’s Four Nations.
Stats That Matter
Australia have won 99 of the 134 all-time Tests against New Zealand. The Kangaroos have won 15 of the 20 Tests against the Kiwis since losing the 2008 World Cup final. Australia have won 15 of the 17 all-time Anzac Tests with their last three victories coming by margins of 12 or greater. The Kiwis have not posted more than 18 points in an Anzac Test since 1997. The Kangaroos won the only Anzac Test played in Canberra 32-12. Australia have kept New Zealand to 8 points or fewer in four Tests under Meninga. The Kiwis have not managed more than 18 points in any of their last nine Tests.
Final Thoughts
The stats don’t lie and it’s impossible to ignore Australia’s dominance over New Zealand in ANZAC Tests as well as their dominance in all-time Tests. As already mentioned, Australia have conceded just 8.7 points under Meninga and will be able to defend anything that the Kiwis throw at them. The Kiwis will be committed for the first 20 minutes, but Australia will break them out over the 80 minutes and record a comfortable victory in the nation’s capital. Keep an eye on team news, with Johnathan Thurston named and James Maloney listed as cover on an extended bench.
How It’s Shaping Up
Australia by 14
Best Bet
Australia -8 ($1.95)
Other Recommended BetsAustralia by 13-18 ($5.50)

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