Sport

Anzac test for rookie

Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson Richard Robinson

HAD it not been for a hamstring injury to Kieran Foran, 23-game NRL rookie Shaun Johnson would be sitting in the stands at Eden Park tonight watching the Anzac Test with the fans.

Instead, Johnson will be the supporting act for New Zealand lynch pin, the brilliant skipper Benji Marshall. As the Kiwi halves, Marshall and Johnson have never played together and that is where the homeside faces its greatest dilemma.

Although 59-Test record holder Darren Lockyer will not be lining up in the green and gold for Australia, "newcomer" Cooper Cronk has played 13 Tests already and is a veteran of 191 NRL appearances.

On paper, and in reality, the match-up in the halves is a mismatch, because Kangaroos five-eighth Johnathan Thurston (22 Tests) found his best form of the season in Darwin last weekend.

Stacey Jones, regarded as perhaps one of New Zealand's greatest halfbacks, is a mentor to Johnson at the Warriors and concedes the 21-year-old may well be out of his depth in the Test arena.

"He has all the ingredients to make a great player, but he's still learning the game," said Jones. "This is a Test match and he's going to have to go out and perform, but the benefits of tonight are more likely to be seen later in his career."

The odds are stacked hugely against the Kiwis, even though they are playing at home. It is 14 years since they last won a Test in April, they have scored just two victories in their past 17 Test against the Kangaroos and Australia has won both Tests previously played at Eden Park.

Early fireworks are expected and the forward exchanges will be brutal, but once the heat goes out of the contest Australia will dominate defensively. And their strike power, particularly in the centres, gives them a huge advantage.

TEAMS:

New Zealand: Josh Hoffman, Jason Nightingale, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Benji Marshall (c), Shaun Johnson, Sam McKendry, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Frank Pritchard, Adam Blair (vc), Jeremy Smith. Inter: Nathan Fien, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jesse Bromwich, Alex Glenn.

Australia: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Akuila Uate, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Paul Gallen (vc), Cameron Smith (c), David Shillington, David Taylor, Sam Thaiday, Luke Lewis. Inter: Daly Cherry-Evans, Ben Hannant, James Tamou, Anthony Watmough. 18th man: Matt Gillett.

Topics:  kangaroos, rugby league


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Accused in strangulation case denied bail

A 21-year-old Brassall man has been denied police bail and remanded in custody to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court today.

A 21-year-old has been denied police bail

Toddler taken to hospital with snake bite

The red bellied black snake caught by Christian Andersen.

Young patient assessed after puncture wounds found

Teacher sent naked pics to student, flirted on Grindr

Relationship exposed when teacher went to school's pastor

Local Partners

Workplace horror: Doctors use toe to replace crushed thumb

LAWYERS put employers on notice about preventable work deaths and injuries

Accused in strangulation case denied bail

A 21-year-old Brassall man has been denied police bail and remanded in custody to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court today.

A 21-year-old has been denied police bail

Toddler taken to hospital with snake bite

The red bellied black snake caught by Christian Andersen.

Young patient assessed after puncture wounds found

WATCH: Police release CCTV footage of Goodna robbery

An armed robbery took place at the IGA in Goodna at 6am this morning (27-9-16).

Masked men armed with large hammer hold up store

Driver assaulted, threatened with knife before being robbed

Thieves stole wallet and laptop computer from motorist

Who says there are no killers in the river?

No Caption

Bull sharks plentiful in popular swimming locations

Woman's $400 fine for late night 'white trash' street row

court generic

Teen's job keeps her out of trouble, court hears

Four taken to hospital after crash near school

Queensland Ambulance Service on scene of an accident.  Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer

Four females injured in two vehicle crash

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual