The Newsroom previews the Four Nations final between the Trans-Tasman rivals the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis.
Australia and New Zealand will face-off in the final of the Four Nations tournament at the iconic Anfield, Liverpool. The historic ground has been shortened for the game and will be 91 metres from goal line to goal line instead of the standard 100 metres.
The Kangaroos will be hoping to stay undefeated in their Four Nations campaign this weekend. Australia will come into the game with all the momentum having beaten New Zealand in all three tests the two sides have played so far this year.
Aussie coach Mal Meninga will be forced to make at least one change to his side that beat England last weekend with Sam Thaiday out after having surgery on his fractured cheekbone and eye socket. The Australians will have a bit more to play for after long-serving five-eighth Johnathan Thurston announced his retirement after the Rugby League World Cup and this weekend’s game will be his final game on UK soil.
New Zealand will be hoping to bounce back after their 18-18 draw last weekend to Four Nations minnows Scotland. Kiwi coach David Kidwell has been forced to find a new five-eighth after Thomas Leuluai suffered a broken jaw in their last match. The Kiwis came within inches of beating the Aussies in their last match and are hoping playmaker Shaun Johnson will dominate with ball in hand this Monday.
Both locks are the players to watch for the Four Nations final. Trent Merrin is in career-best form after his impressive season with Penrith while New Zealand’s Jason Taumalolo is one of the most devastating ball runners in the game. Both teams will be hoping these players can lead from the front and get them on the front foot early. Kick-off is scheduled for Monday 1:30am (AEDT). – Paul Burns
Photo of the captains with the Four nations trophy from the Australian Kangaroos Facebook page.