So, the teams for the opening set of matches have been announced. let’s have a look, shall we?
AUSTRALIA VS NEW ZEALAND
Australia (from): Billy Slater, Joel Monaghan, Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Brent Tate, Darren Lockyer (captain), Jonathan Thurston, Petero Civoniceva, Cameron Smith, Steve Price, Glenn Stewart, Anthony Laffranchi, Paul Gallen.
Replacements: Brent Kite, Josh Perry, Anthony Tupou, Kurt Gidley.
New Zealand: Lance Hohaia, Sam Perrett, Steve Matai, Jerome Ropati, Manu Vatuvei, Benji Marshall, Thomas Leuluai, Nathan Cayless (captain), Nathan Fien, Adam Blair, Simon Mannering, Sika Manu, Jeremy Smith.
Replacements: Dene Halatau, Greg Eastwood, Setaimata Sa, Sam Rapira.
- The obvious thing to mention is the Kangaroos’ uncapped back-row. They’re all exciting talented players who have now got the stage to shine on.
- Folau and Inglis in the centres could be interesting. It will be more responsibility than they’re used to at representative level but both have plenty of experience there for the Storm.
- Matai did a pretty good job of taking Folau out of the equation in the NRL Grand Final. Can he do it again?
- Nathan Fien gets to make his legal debut for the Kiwis. His influence around the ruck could help relieve some of the pressure that will be put on Benji Marshall and Thomas Leuluai.