Despite there being no club games, there are still some great representative fixtures to bet on this weekend.
KANGAROOS OUT TO BREAK KIWI DOMINANCE
Unbelievably, the Kiwis have won three straight against the Kangaroos which includes this fixture 12 months ago and the most recent Four Nations Final. There are a few key differences to the sides when they last faced off though.
The first and probably most important is the fact New Zealand will be without several key players including influential playmaker Kieran Foran, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and 'The Beast' Manu Vatuvei.
As for the Aussies they are now under the guidance of Mal Meninga who takes over from Tim Sheens for his inaugural game as a Test coach.
There has been a reshuffle and a few new faces added to the Kangaroos side that was beaten 26-12 in this game last year including Greg Inglis moving from fullback to centre, Josh Dugan moving from Wing to Centre and Blake Ferguson making his debut on the wing. Although the Kiwis have won the most recent mid-year Test between the sides, the previous 15 all went the way of the Aussies.
UPSET ON THE CARDS?
The Kiwis are looking to win three straight against the Kangaroos in Australia for the first time in their history. The odds are very juicy for them to win, however, they face a huge hurdle especially since they are missing some really influential players.
Australia are short enough and with Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith all showing signs of their best form throughout the season we are confident they will get the money here. Australia 1-12 ($3.40 Ladbrokes)
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CITY SLICKERS COULD BE IN FOR A TOUGH TIME
This year's game has been taken to the country music capital of Australia, Tamworth (Scully Park), where the region is expected to embrace the chance to see a professional competitive rugby league fixture.
If markets are to be believed though this one won't be much of a contest but we think it will be far closer than many believe. It's easy to see why Country would be favourites with the in-form James Maloney anchoring the halves with team-mate Jack Bird.
They have been lethal at club level and have helped the Sharks to 14 points in the opening nine rounds of competition. They are familiar with their own playing styles and will find it easier to guide the country side around the park and that gives them a big advantage over their City counterparts. The only thing to be cautious of though is the fact that Bird has been playing the majority of the season in the centres.
Maloney's halves partner has been with Chad Townsend, who is the halfback for City and will be accompanied by five-eighth Aidan Sezer. Townsend and Sezer's combinations will go a long way to determining if City can win this match or at the very least be competitive. The number seven for City has scored four tries this season and has six try assists while Sezer doesn't have a problem crossing the white stripe as he's done so four times in 2016.
While City have the wood on their rivals since this fixture was introduced in 1987 (13 wins to 11), in recent years it's been a Country domination with four wins from the last six (with one Draw).
Country won last year's fixture and will be looking for three straight over City for just third time in history.
We think that Country probably deserve favouritism but in these types of matches it pays to look for value on occasions. Consider backing City to Win (2.80 LuxBet) and maybe even have a little saver on the Draw ($26 Palmerbet), as there's been two in the past eight matches between these sides.
If you are playing the Margins then the logical way to play this is either side to win 1-12.
JUNIOR ROOS HOT FAVOURITES IN TRANS-TASMAN CLASH
The Junior Kangaroos take on the Junior Kiwis as a curtain-raiser to an international night of rugby league at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night which also features PNG v Fiji and Tonga v Samoa.
Last year’s clash between the sides saw just two points separating them in an epic 22-20 win for the Kangaroos, while in 2014 it was a 15-14 result the way of the Kiwis.
From that victorious side last year, the Kangaroos will have Robert Jennings backing up again this year and he has since gone on to make his NRL debut for the Penrith Panthers. Others in the team that have broken through to first grade include Curtis Scott, John Olive and Lachlan Croker while James Fisher-Harris and Nathaniel Roache are the only New Zealanders to have tasted first grade.
It is hard to see the Kiwis getting the cash in this one but in these games you just never know. The Junior Kangaroos have won three of the last five contests but the last two have been extremely close encounters. Take Australia to win but maybe the Kiwis at the Line as it’s been set at a very generous 14.5 ($1.90 Palmerbet).