The current core of this Australian team are one of the most amazing collection of footballers that we’ll have been privileged to see in 20 years. Right now it sucks though, because they all Queenslanders. But either way, the people of Canberra will be rejoicing come Friday night; as they have done all year via many events to celebrate the city's centenary. For all the Canberra haters out there, yes - I can call it a city, and yes - it’s more than just the birth place of Brad Haddin, Mark Webber, David Campese and Ricky Stuart... oh wait... they’re all from Queanbeyan.
There’ll be some fireworks on Friday night and that is no reference to Fyshwick. Quite the contrary, the natives could get restless with the likes of Greg Bird and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves both starting so expect some push and shove early as the Kiwis try to win back some pride. They’ll come close to winning more than that with Kieran Foran leading the way, but when JT and Greg Inglis decide enough is enough, Australia win again. Cameron Smith v Issac Luke a highlight for the second week in a row.
My tip: Kangaroos 24-12
Firstly, to address the same boring questions that arise around this time of year. Yes, City v Country is worth it and yes, even though we know some players choose R&R over Rep footy, it’s still an important fixture. Just ask the wonderful people of Mudgee, Albury, Wollongong and, this year, Coffs Harbour. Let’s not completely ignore country NSW and let’s not completely forget where the vast majority of our first grade footballers come from.
Also, to address the theory that Queenslanders are laughing at New South Wales for playing this game... Please! The day I give a flying footy about a Queenslanders’ opinion will be the day I... sorry... rep season gets to me!
Sunday afternoon from BCU International Stadium in Coffs Harbour: What a treat for the people of the North Coast and what a proud Indigenous history represented by The Gumbaynggirr Nation. Some big names here and a great reward for the likes of Boyd Cordner and Michael Gordon; for Adam Reynolds and Jorge Taufua. They are just a few who have been in blinding form this season and deserve this accolade. Speaking of blinding form, James Maloney will stand taller than the rest and lead a lightning fast Country team to victory.
My tip: Country Origin 30-10