RLWC 2017 - Semi Final
MATCH UP STATS
RLWC 2017 - Semi Final
Line bettingAustralia: -24.5 at $1.90 with William HillFiji: +24.5 at $1.95 with Neds
SOME are calling it the biggest sporting event in Queensland this week.
Fans of Ashes cricket may disagree, but Friday’s semi-final bout at Suncorp Stadium is shaping up as a must-see clash nevertheless.
Australia overcame testing conditions in Darwin last week to claim a resounding victory over Samoa.
Cronulla Sharks star Valentine Holmes was the man of the moment, crossing for a tournament-record five tries as the Kangaroos put 46 unanswered points past their opponents.
That sets up a fascinating head-to-head battle as the Aussies continue their campaign for an 11th Rugby League World Cup crown.
It was expected that Mal Meninga’s men would meet New Zealand at this stage, but instead they will face a fire-up Fiji after one of the greatest upsets in RLWC history.
Riding the wave of a dominant display in the group stage, the Bati stunned NZ to win 4-2 in a hard-fought, tryless encounter in Wellington.
Perhaps the most notable thing about the score sheet for that game was that it did not feature Suliasi Vunivalu, who had notched eight tries in his three previous outings.
Neither coach has made any changes to the squads that got their sides through the quarter-finals.
Australia first tryscorer odds
Valentine Holmes ($8 at Neds) – How could we look anywhere else? Holmes rubber-stamped his Kangaroos credentials with a scintillating display of pace, power and precision in tricky circumstances in the NT, so he should be the first name you check out for Friday’s clash.
Billy Slater ($10 at Sportsbet) – Melbourne Storm’s superstar fullback was one of three Aussies to cross the line in Darwin last week, and it would be no surprise to see him do it again in Brisbane. He is also paying a $1.83 at Sportsbet to score a try at any time in the game.
Best bets for Fiji first tryscorer
Suliasi Vunivalu ($15 at Sportsbet) – If anyone can unlock the Australian defence and find the line, it is this man. Vunivalu has broken 26 tackles and gained 696 metres in four games, so the Kangaroos will have to be on their guard from go to woe.
Jarryd Hayne ($36 at Sportsbet) – Another upset from Fiji would require a huge performance from their leaders. Hayne is as experienced and battle-hardened as any man out there, and his State of Origin record shows he can hit the scoreboard in the big games.
Australia vs. Fiji match prediction
It was the quality of Fiji’s defensive play that got them past the Kiwis, but can they reproduce it against an Aussie outfit that boasts so many weapons?
If Holmes and Gagai aren’t coming at you, it’s Slater; if not him, then Michael Morgan, or Will Chambers, or Cooper Cronk.
That said, there is a chance the Kangaroos could be a little sluggish after a draining trip to the Top End.
With that in mind, there could be value in backing the Bati to keep the margin much tighter than the bookies are forecasting.
1. Billy Slater
2. Dane Gagai
3. Will Chambers
4. Josh Dugan
5. Valentine Holmes
6. Michael Morgan
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Aaron Woods
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. David Klemmer
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Michael Gillett
13. Josh McGuire
14. Wade Graham
15. Jordan McLean
16. Reagan Cambell-Gillard
17. Tyson Frizell
Reserves: Felise Kaufusi, Tom Tbrojevic, Josh Mansour, James Maloney
1. Kevin Naiqama (c)
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
3. Taane Milne
4. Akuila Uate
5. Marcelo Montoya
6. Jarryd Hayne
7. Henry Raiwalui
8. Ashton Sims
9. Apisai Koroisau
10. Eloni Vunakece
11. Viliame Kikau
12. Brayden Wiliame
13. Tui Kamikamica
14. Joe Lovodua
15. Jacob Saifiti
16. Junior Roqica
17. Ben Nakubuwai
Reserves: James Storer, Salesi Faingaa, Sitiveni Moceidreke, Pio Sokobalavu
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