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New Zealand vs Australia - Kangaroos can make it six in a row against Kiwis
Valentine Holmes is the first tryscorer tip in a comfortable Australia victory
Australia take on New Zealand in Auckland with the Kangaroos tipped to beat the Kiwis (Getty Images).
New Zealand vs Australia Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips
Australia are tipped to take care of business in the one-off Test against New Zealand at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday. Valentine Holmes has been in sensational form and can play a dominant role in another win for Australia.
The Kiwis are beginning life with a new head coach as Michael Maguire prepares for his second match in charge. The former South Sydney coach had a bad start to his reign, defeated 36-18 by England in the USA in June.
Two key men are unavailable with hooker Isaac Luke and Dally M Medallist Roger Tuivasa-Sheck both injured. Simon Mannering, Russell Packer and Ben Matulino announced their Test retirements with opportunities given to Brandon Smith, Jahrome Hughes and Joseph Manu.
Penrith Panthers’ Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been selected as captain and will start at fullback. Shaun Johnson will be an important player here as the established playmaker, but overall this is a very inexperienced side.
The Kangaroos are also heading into a new era with Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston all making way for new blood. Darius Boyd and Sam Thaiday have retired which means a host of new players set to make their debuts.
James Tedesco, Damien Cook, Latrell Mitchell, Luke Keary and Tyrone Peachey could all make their first appearances for Australia. Coach Mal Meninga has a new look lineup and selected players in great form such as Tedesco, Mitchell, Keary and Cook.
There has been an unwanted distraction with Greg Inglis caught drunk driving and speeding just hours after being named captain. Inglis was banned for two matches and replaced as captain by Boyd Cordner.
Australia are inexperienced but have some tremendous talent at their disposal including Valentine Holmes. The Cronulla Sharks fullback plays on the wing for Australia but will continue to get opportunities to score. Holmes scored 22 tries in the NRL last season and has scored 14 tries for the Kangaroos in just 11 games.
Australia have won 100 of the 135 international rugby league matches against New Zealand with three draws. The Kangaroos have won the last five contests with the latest coming in the 2017 Anzac Test with Australia defeating New Zealand 30-12.
Tries to Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Will Chambers and Tyson Frizell gave Australia a 24-0 half-time. The lead was extended to 30-0 with a try to Jake Trbojevic after the break, before tries to Simon Mannering and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck added some respectability to the score.
These nations are both very inexperienced but there is little doubt Australia have more talent and class. The Kangaroos will attempt to shut down Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson who is by far the Kiwi's most dangerous weapon.
Isaak Luke’s injury is a big blow for New Zealand. The replacement hooker Brandon Smith is inexperienced and risks getting outplayed by Australia’s Damien Cook who was outstanding for the Rabbitohs last season.
- New Zealand have lost their last 5 matches against Australia.
- Australia have won 4 of their last 5 matches against New Zealand by 16 points or more.
- Valentine Holmes scored 22 tries for the Sharks and 4 for Queensland last season.
The Kiwis are hindered by the injuries to Luke and Tuivasa-Sheck and lack top level quality in key positions.
Australia have an abundance of quality in key positions such as Tedesco, Keary, Cherry-Evans and Cook. The Kangaroos have a formidable attack and should have no problems extending their winning run against the Kiwis to six matches.
Best Bet: Australia -8 Handicap @ 2.00 - 8 Units
Value Bet: Valentine Holmes First Tryscorer @ 8.50 - 2 Units
New Zealand Squad:
1.Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Ken Maumalo 3. Esan Marsters 4. Joseph Manu 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Isaac Liu 13. James Fisher-Harris 14. Kenneath Bromwich 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Martin Taupau 17. Adam Blair 18. Peta Hiku 19. Jahrome Hughes
1. James Tedesco 2. Dane Gagai 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Tom Trbojevic 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Luke Keary 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. David Klemmer 9. Damien Cook 10. Jordan McLean 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Felise Kaufusi 13. Josh McGuire 14. Ben Hunt 15. Jake Trbojevic 16. Tyson Frizell 17. Aaron Woods 18. Tyrone Peachey 19. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
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