Australia will be shooting for a third Four Nations title this Monday morning (AEDT and NZT).
We look at three of the big questions hanging over the Kangaroos ahead of their clash with the Kiwis at Anfield.
Will Klemmer cause chaos again?
In a side stacked with forward talent, David Klemmer has stood out as one of Australia’s best.
The Bulldogs’ enforcer has run for over 150 metres in all three Four Nations pool games, including a monster effort of 208 off the bench against England last up – and Sam Burgess’ fist-print on his noggin as a momento.
His carries and enthusiasm have been huge for the Kangaroos, and have led the way for the rest of the pack.
Watch for Klemmer to have a big influence on the game either side of half-time in particular.
His confrontational style up against Kiwi wrecking ball Martin Taupau will be well worth the watch.
BIG MAN THRIVES
— NSW Rugby League 🏉 (@NSWRL) November 9, 2016
What can Cronk, Thurston and Smith do on the shorter field?
When the teams go to battle at Anfield it will be on a field which is nine metres shorter than the length stipulated under international rules.
For the sake of safety, the field has been reduced to 91 metres, which will make the respective kicking games even more important.
At the captain’s run on Saturday morning (local UK time), the Kangaroos’ playmaking trio were spotted nailing a number of 40/20 kicks, as well as perfecting their short kicking games in the in-goal areas.
How the dexterous trio capitalise against the Kiwis – who are likely to struggle their way through last-tackle plays given they only have one kicker left in Shaun Johnson – will be crucial.
History to repeat on English soil?
The Kangaroos have never lost a Four Nations final on in England, claiming titles back in 2009 and 2011; the Kiwis’ watershed 2005 success at Elland Road was under the old Tri-Nations format.
In fact, Australia have won every game they have played in the Old Dart since drawing against the Kiwis at Twickenham Stoop back in the 2009 edition of the Four Nations.
In more recent times they reclaimed the Rugby League World Cup in 2013 – at Anfield, the venue for this encounter – with a 34-2 trouncing of the Kiwis, and overall the men in green and gold have enjoyed a positive record while playing in England.
The Kiwis, on the other hand, haven’t done so well there recently, losing their series against England 2-1 on home soil last year.
New Zealand didn’t qualify for the final in either of the previous two Four Nations tournaments held in the UK, either, boasting just three wins in their last 14 Tests against Australia and England/Great Britain on British soil.