Jason Taumalolo
Jason Taumalolo

NZ vs Kangaroos - Reasons for Kiwis to have hope

Jason Taumalolo

The Cowboys player is a special talent who could bring a new dimension to this Kiwis side tonight. He will be ruthlessly targeted by the Australians - watch for some special treatment from the likes of Greg Bird and Sam Thaiday - but he can rise above that. It's a big ask, but maybe, just maybe, he can repeat the feat of Kevin Iro (1987) who had an outstanding match in his first game against Australia.

Forward power

On paper anyway, this New Zealand forward pack loses nothing against their Australian counterparts. Indeed, if the young Storm trio of Jesse Bromwich, Kevin Proctor and Tohu Harris rise to the occasion and Adam Blair and Greg Eastwood rediscover their 2010 vintage there will be plenty of front foot ball for the Kiwi back division.

Kicking game

It usually a massive Achilles heel, but the Kiwis should be able to employ a reasonable kicking game tonight. Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran have plenty to offer in that department, and Thomas Leuluai also provides a decent option from dummy half. The absence of Johnathan Thurston also means the New Zealanders should match up well in the goal kicking department, with Johnson just as capable as Cameron Smith.

Brisbane bounty

Since 1983 the Kiwis have enjoyed more success against the Kangaroos in Brisbane than any other city outside Auckland. No one really knows why, but it hasn't been the graveyard than Sydney, Melbourne and even Wellington have tended to be and one third of the Kiwis' victories in the last three decades have occurred in the Queensland capital.

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