2010 Australia v New Zealand Preview

Tonight the flash new AAMI Park in Melbourne will host its highly anticipated inaugural match, when the annual Australia v New Zealand trans-Tasman test plays out in front of a sold out stadium of supporters.

The first 20 minutes of this ANZAC test always gives rugby league fans one of the most hard-hitting and entertaining quarters of footy all year, and tonight will be no different.

Despite the fact that the Kangaroos boast a far classier side, including 12 players from last year’s winning Four Nations squad, and with New Zealand missing six of their big name players due to injury (Manu Vatuvei, Simon Mannering, Roy Asotasi, Jeremy Smith, Frank Pritchard, Fuifui Moimoi and Dene Halatau) it will still be a thrilling showdown.

NZ haven’t been able to thwart the Aussies outside the post-season since mid-season in 1998, which is why they are the $5.65 underdogs with Ladbrokes.com.au. However they always put on a good show from the opening haka that aims to intimidate the Kangaroos right until the full-time siren.

This year the Kiwi side have added three new players making their representative footy debuts to make-up for their injury-ridden squad. The three debutants are Alex Glenn (Broncos), Aaron Heremaia (Warriors) and Zeb Taia (Knights).

The Kangaroos, on the other hand, have just one debutant, Dragons prop Michael Weyman on the bench. The quality of the Aussie players on the bench shows just how great this team is. The other four non-Four Nations players on the Aussie side are Jamie Lyon, Cooper Cronk, David Shillington and Josh Perry.

One of the players we are most looking forward to watching is Manly skipper Jamie Lyon who has been sensational this year. Lyon was named to join the Storm’s Greg Inglis in the Aussie centres after Israel Folau was omitted from the side.

Also, as injured Kangaroo halfback Johnathan Thurston is set to miss the match because of his shoulder, Melbourne’s Cooper Cronk steps in to replace him and as the representative footy is where the Storm players will find much of their rewards this year, he is sure to do a smashing job.

With the big four Melbourne boys all pumped up for a green and gold victory, the Kiwis that try to defy the players one of their only chance of playing for something more than just pride this season should look out!

New Zealanders that are sure to play a big part and add some real spark to the game are the halves  Kieran Foran and Benji Marshall and talented hooker Issac Luke.

Luke’s stats this year are very impressive and he is sure to sneak in with at least one four-pointer tonight. The Roos will have to watch him as he has made 75 dummy-half runs this year and will be looking to surprise them and get over from this position.

New father and Broncos skipper Darren Lockyer is again set to captain the Kangaroos for the 51st time, and with the leading try-scorer in the NRL Brett Morris on the wing, Jarryd Hayne wearing the No. 5 and a host of other stars, the Aussies should win this one comfortably.

Ladbrokes.com.au have a whole range of exclusive betting markets open on this test match to make an already exhilarating night of footy even more exciting!

With Australia looking so good for a win, and a big one at that, why not take advantage of the sure to be large winning margin and put a plus 12.5 bet on.

Here are just some of the other great exotic wagers open on tonight’s test:

– 1st team to 10 points

– 1st scoring play

– Half-time margin

– 40/20 kick

– Time of first try.

Head to Ladbrokes.com.au for a full list of betting markets and to take advantage of their great odds!

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Australia $1.14 – New Zealand $5.65 Ladbrokes.com.au

Australia Team 2010:

1. Billy Slater (Melbourne)

2. Brett Morris (St George Illawarra)

3. Greg Inglis (Melbourne)

4. Jamie Lyon (Manly)

5. Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta)

6. Darren Lockyer (c) (Brisbane)

7. Cooper Cronk (Melbourne)

8. Petero Civoniceva (Penrith)

9. Cameron Smith (Melbourne)

10. David Shillington (Canberra)

11. Luke Lewis (Penrith)

12. Sam Thaiday (Brisbane)

13. Paul Gallen (Cronulla)

14. Kurt Gidley (Newcastle)

15. Josh Perry (Manly)

16. Anthony Watmough (Manly)

17. Michael Weyman (St George Illawarra Dragons)

New Zealand Team 2010:

1. Adam Blair (Melbourne)

2. Kieran Foran (Manly)

3. Alex Glenn (Brisbane)

4. Bronson Harrison (Canberra)

5. Aaron Heremaia (New Zealand)

6. Lance Hohaia (New Zealand)

7. Issac Luke (South Sydney)

8. Sika Manu (Melbourne)

9. Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers)

10. Steve Matai (Manly)

11. Ben Matulino (New Zealand)

12. Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra)

13. Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney)

14. Sam Perrett (Sydney)

15. Sam Rapira (New Zealand)

16. Junior Sa’u (Newcastle)

17. Zeb Taia (Newcastle)

18. Jaren Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney)