Source: Australian Kangaroos via Facebook.
The 2017 Rugby League World Cup gets underway in October when the best teams on the planet will head to Australia and New Zealand in a bid to lift the sport’s ultimate prize at international level. In 2013, Australia were a class above their rivals, eventually beating the Kiwis 34-2 in front of a packed-out Old Trafford crowd.
The Aussies conceded just 24 points in six matches throughout the entire tournament – an incredible achievement. England, well fancied to go one better this time around, pushed Australia to their limits but fell just short against New Zealand in the semi-finals. On paper, Wayne Bennett’s side could be Australia’s main competition later this year.
— Mirror Sport (@MirrorSport) February 16, 2017
But even then, Australia are on another level. As of May 15th 2017, the Kangaroos are clear at the top of the world rankings and not even New Zealand can touch their dominance in the sport right now. Australia were simply sublime in May’s ANZAC Test, recording a 30-12 victory over their fierce rivals, a result that will ensure that the Aussies head into the World Cup as the number one ranked side on the planet.
One of the main reasons for Australia’s dominance on the international stage is down to their own domestic success. Whilst Super League continues to attract interest in England, the NRL remains the most lucrative division in the sport.
And, with the vast majority of Australia’s squad playing for the likes of Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks, and the current favourites for the NRL title, Melbourne Storm, a side that’s listed at 8/1 to the Bronco’s 12/1 on the Oddschecker website, Mal Meninga’s side will take some stopping, especially on home soil.
Just as they did in 2013, Australia will have to face England in the group stages and victory for the Kangaroos could signal whether Meninga’s men will cruise through the tournament or face stiff competition in their pursuit of glory. In terms of attacking talent, Australia won’t be stopped. In the last World Cup, the Aussies scored 272 points compared to New Zealand’s tally of 208.
For Australia, the task ahead of the 2017 World Cup is simple: retain the trophy. Meninga’s side are by far and away the strongest international team in the world and they will head into the competition as red hot favourites to triumph. England and New Zealand will try to end Australia’s dominance but if the Kangaroos are on form, they are almost unbeatable – a repeat of the 34-2 demolition could be on the cards.