New Zealand’s 2008 Rugby League World Cup triumph was an incredible moment for Rugby League.
I was lucky enough to be at that match and I have to say it was a pleasure to witness Rugby League history in the making. The 2008 New Zealand team cemented a place in the games history books and they had done so by having to beat Australia on home soil. It was an incredible effort.
As we head into the 2013 World Cup New Zealand couldn’t have asked for a better run into the tournament. Make no mistake, New Zealand SHOULD win the World Cup final. You want me to tell you why?
First of all, no one is talking about them!
All of the marketing being done in England revolves around England and Australia. The English obsession with beating Australia has seen the Kangaroo’s become the focus over the current World Cup holders. Am I the only one that thought it was weird that the World Cup didn’t kick off showcasing the current World Champions?
The English have no regard for New Zealand at all. They don’t rate them. They don’t expect them to make the final. It is perfect for the Kiwi’s as the focus is completely off of them.
The World Cup draw couldn’t be any more perfect for New Zealand. The Kiwi’s do not have to face Australia or England until at least the semi final stage. History shows us that over the course of a long tournament New Zealand tend to play their way into form. When you look at the very worst way the draw could turn out for the Kiwi’s, they would likely end up having to face England in the semi finals. By that stage, it won’t be a contest. New Zealand will blow them off the park. That means the Kiwi’s really only have one 50/50 contest in the entire World Cup. That will be the final against Australia.
We all know how that turned out last time!
New Zealand in my opinion have the best forward pack in the World Cup. In fact, I don’t even think its close. They have size, depth, versatility, mobility, a lot of players with ball playing ability and importantly a heap of experience.
The New Zealand outside backs will have so much big game experience. They might not have the outright attacking class of some of the Australian players that will line up across from them, but they will more than get the job done.
The loss of Benji Marshall in one way is a blow, but in another way it meant that Stephen Kearney didn’t have to worry about having to make a controversial decision to drop him in favour for the inform Kieran Foran and Shaun Johnson. Now, the Kiwi’s go into the World Cup with no questions about their halves. No controversy. No bruised egos.
The key player for New Zealand in my opinion is Issac Luke. If he fires off the back of their forward pack, I just can not see New Zealand being beaten for the title. Not even by Australia.
Last but not least, the Kiwi’s best opponent, Australia, seem to be lacking desperation to win back the World Cup trophy. You get the feeling that Australia feel as though they just need to turn up and do their job to walk away with the title. That is an attitude that hasn’t worked out all that well over the last decade.
I expect that we won’t hear much out of the Kiwi’s until the semi finals. They’ll cruise through the tournament playing themselves into form while flying under the radar. They’ll get to the final and face off with an Australian team that has been playing incredible football, and they will beat them.
Its a big call, but the Kiwi’s have shown they know how to win these big tournaments. They have no excuses if they can’t get the job done. In my opinion, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup is New Zealands to lose.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com