Rugby League Test Preview


NRL Betting
International Rugby League Preview
Australia v New Zealand

Saturday, October 15, 7.50pm (AEST), NIB Stadium, Perth
Best Bet:  New Zealand +7.5 ($1.90)
New Zealand ($3.00)
New Zealand 1-12 ($4.25)

International Rugby League heads to Perth for the first time as Australia and New Zealand play a warmup Test before heading to England for the Four Nations.

Selection Notes
Australia are yet to name their team but Aaron Woods and Josh Mansour won’t be available. Semi Radradra is the only back who will likely be missing with Valentine Holmes set to replace him. Paul Gallen and Corey Parker are also gone from the pack with Trent Merrin and David Klemmer the likely ins. Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizell are favoured to replace James Tamou and Josh McGuire on the bench. David Kidwell has made six changes from the team that lost the mid-year Test including debutants Solomone Kata and Jordan Rapana. Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Issac Luke and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are also back.

Australia and New Zealand have met in 131 Tests with Australia winning 96 to the Kiwis’ 32 with three draws. The Kiwis had won three Tests on end from 2014-15 before Australia won the mid-year Test this season, the first time New Zealand had won three straight since 1952-53. This is first ever Test played in Perth. Australia have been held to 18 or fewer in the last four Tests. Australia have won 7 of the last 11 Tests in Australia. Since the 2008 World Cup, Australia has won 7 of the 8 non-tournament Tests with all bar one of those wins by a margin of 8 or more. Shaun Johnson has scored in 3 of his last 4 against New Zealand.

Australia are going through their worst run in international football since the late 1970s with three losses in their last six Tests. They had previously lost just three Tests between 2006 and 2014. Over that run they managed to reach 20 just once. New Zealand have beaten Australia in the final of three major tournaments since 2008. Having not conceded more than 20 between 2009 and 2014, Australia have conceded 20-plus in three of the last six. After winning the 2014 Four Nations and then the Anzac Test in 2015, New Zealand lost 2-1 to England at the end of 2015 tour before going down 16-0 in the Anzac Test this season. They have not scored more than 14 points in any of their last four but defensively they have been excellent keeping opponents to 18 or under in 7 of their last 9.

International Rugby League Odds

Key Matchup
Cooper Cronk v Shaun Johnson. There is no doubt the Australian team enter this match with more talent, more class and arguably more points. They have two of the finest playmakers in the game. New Zealand, by contrast, struggle in the spine so will rely heavily on Shaun Johnson. For the Kiwis to be a chance they need a massive individual performance from Johnson in attack and the ability to be able to rattle Cronk in defence.

Final Thoughts
New Zealand usually take a while to warm to a big performance but over the last three seasons have improved vastly, particularly in defence, and that can carry them to a big performance in Perth. Australia are certainly weakened with some big outs and a changing of the guard while the Kiwis go in much stronger than in their mid-year Test. New Zealand certainly have a major edge in aggression and given Australia’s plugging three-quarter line they can take advantage. An upset is brewing.

How It’s Shaping Up
New Zealand by 2

Best Bet
New Zealand +7.5 ($1.90)

Best Exotic
New Zealand 1-12 ($4.25)

Best First/Last Tryscorer
Shaun Johnson ($17.00)

Other Recommended Bets
New Zealand ($3.00)