Well the talking can finally stop as tomorrow morning Australia and England kick off the Rugby League World Cup in Melbourne.
Whilst it’s a big chance to put down a marker for the rest of the tournament both teams should easily qualify for the quarter finals, and England in particular will be hoping that this is a dress rehearsal for the final in 5 weeks time.
The bookies only see one winner here and put the hosts in as around 1/7 favourites to win the game and you have to think they’ll have too much for England.
Some big prices around though if you fancy a shock as you can get 11/2 for Wayne Bennett’s side to get their campaign off with a win.
It’s a long time since England beat Australia in a competitive game and I can’t see that changing here, but the English get a 16 point start on the handicap and I think they can stay inside that.
Whilst the Green and Gold have so much superior talent in the backs with the likes of Cronk and Slater the English pack is more than a match for their rivals.
In England’s last full international they looked very impressive in comfortably beating Samoa, and whilst this is a big step up from that they can keep it competitive.
Australia beat England by 8 points in the opening game of the 2013 World Cup and I see a similar score here, a home win by around 6-10 points is about where I see this ending up. The Green and Gold did win by 18 points in last year’s 4 Nations against England but I think this could be a lot closer.
Ryan Hall is a proven performer at this level and he would be my 1st try pick at 16/1, Gagai has a phenomenal origin try scoring record and he would be the alternative as a 7/1 favourite.
It doesn’t get any better than Australia versus England, what a way to kick off the festival of our great game, as always please gamble responsibly.