We take a look at tonights Rugby League World Cup match between the Australia Kangaroos and England. The Kangaroos go into the match as the red hot favourites and they look hard to beat. View the Australia Kangaroos vs England Preview.
When: Friday, October 27, 8pm (AEDT),
Where: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne
Ten-time winners of the event, Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos will start overwhelming favourites to defend their Rugby League World Cup crown over the coming weeks.
Landing in a pool also containing France and the Brad Fittler-coached Lebanon, Australia will kick off their tournament with a clash against England in Melbourne on Friday night.
Despite the absence of Johnathan Thurston, the Roos have named a 24-man squad bristling with talent with no fewer than seven of Melbourne’s victorious NRL Grand Final roster making the cut.
Usual suspects Cameron Smith and the clubless Cooper Cronk are there but the likes of Felise Kaufusi and Jordan McLean have been rewarded for impressive club seasons in the Storm engine room.
With Darius Boyd also sidelined, Billy Slater appears to have beaten off a challenge from Tom Trbojevic to wear the number one jersey in the opener.
Trbojevic starred in recent trial wins over PNG and Fiji and might jostle with Valentine Holmes and Wally Lewis Medal winner Dane Gagai for the wing positions.
Most conjecture surrounds the five-eighth role with James Maloney, Cameron Munster and Michael Morgan having claims.
Meninga has already declared Morgan, who lifted the Cowboys to an unlikely GF berth, has his ‘nose in front’ and the Cowboys star is likely to start in the tournament opener against the English.
But all three are likely to get opportunities ahead of the business end.
Opponents England haven’t beaten Australia since 2006, but will be hoping to catch the locals short of their best in a city they have performed reasonably well at in the past.
The Poms will be mentored by Wayne Bennett and boast seven NRL players amongst a capable looking squad.
Coming off arguably his best season down under, Gareth Widdop (pictured above) will partner Man of Steel Luke Gale in the halves.
Their forward pack has no shortage of muscle with James Graham, Elliot Whitehead and the Burgess brothers, Sam and Tom, set to feature alongside captain Sean O’Loughlin.
Expect England to be competitive for 50 minutes but the Kangaroos have too much skill and should run away with it.
Australia at $1.14
England at $6.00
Tip: Australia at $1.14
Line tip: Australia -15.5
Tips and Preview provided by UniBet. Read more about UniBet at https://www.justhorseracing.com.au/reviews/unibet