The Kangaroos winning the RLWC is a foregone conclusion

Dr Chop Roar Guru

By , Dr Chop is a Roar Guru

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    I must preface this piece by saying that I for one am extremely excited for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.

    I am not a hater. I love international rugby league, and as a Sydneysider, I think it’s a disgrace that the only two games in my city are Australia vs Lebanon and England vs Lebanon.

    I think Jason Taumalolo and Andy Fifita jumping ship to Tonga is fantastic. I love the new eligibility laws (as a short-term fix, I think loosening them now will allow them to be strengthened in the future without the standard of competition decreasing – that’s a discussion for another day) and I think there will be many awesome games and incredible moments.

    But let’s not kid ourselves here by pretending that anyone but the Kangaroos will win this thing.

    For days on this site I’ve been reading articles and comments from international league lovers like myself, full of that pre-tournament optimism about the other teams.

    Common sentiments include “I wouldn’t be surprised to see England win”, and “The Kiwis will shock many at this World Cup”.

    I even read this gem. “France could give Australia a real run for their money”.

    France? Give me a break.

    Allow me to spell it out for everyone. Any team that is not made up entirely of players with NRL and/or Super League experience is no chance. Not “next to no chance”. I mean literally.

    No. Chance.

    So with that in mind we can rule out USA, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, France and Italy.

    With all due respect to these nations, none of them would beat the Newcastle Knights if they had a player sent off in the first minute of the game.

    These nations will not beat any of the other nations. They will only beat each other.

    So what about the others? Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and the Big 3. To have six squads in the RLWC made up entirely of players with NRL/Super League experience is amazing. I never thought I’d see that.

    Andrew-Fifita-Australia-Rugby-League-Kangaroos-Anzac-Test-2017

    (NRL Photos/Grant Trouville)

    But it’s one thing to have a team made up of players who have played first grade. It’s something else completely to have a team made up entirely of current, elite first graders like Australia has.

    I believe that Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand and England will be competitive against each other, and while New Zealand and England would obviously be favourites, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see any one of these nations beat each other.

    This is not just due to the increased strength of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, but also the fact that New Zealand are a lot weaker than usual, while England are about the same as they usually are.

    This is why I say that even New Zealand can’t beat Australia. Johnson is in a massive form slump. RTS hasn’t been great either. They have no Taumalolo, no Bromwich, no Proctor. That for me equals no hope.

    Samoa, Tonga and Fiji? They all have world-beaters in their team. The likes of Vunivalu, Fifita, Taumalolo and Papalii are all NRL superstars. These teams have many elite players, but none of them play in the spine which is why they will not challenge the Kangaroos.

    As for England? As a St George Illawarra fan I say discount the Bennett Factor at your own risk. They have some elite NRL players like Big Sam, Graham, Widdop and Josh Hodgson. But Australia has 24 elite NRL players!

    England's Sam Burgess (L) scores a try during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup semi-final match between England and New Zealand at Wembley Stadium in London on November 23, 2013. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK

    (AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK)

    The Super League guys in the England team would all probably make it in the NRL. But I think very few would be genuine superstars.

    The Super League is a vastly inferior competition to the NRL. Many experts say it’s only slightly above the level of the Queensland Cup. I don’t believe that a squad of players from an inferior competition will be up to the task against the best of the best.

    The reason why Australia are so good is their spine. Smith, Cronk and Slater will pick apart teams who show any weakness. If they can do it against NSW, who have relatively few weaknesses, they will not struggle at all against teams made up of a mixture of superstars, first graders, and fringe first graders.

    Finally, I hope everyone enjoys the RLWC for what it is – an exhibition of rugby league talent from all over the world. As a contest for first place, it is lacking a fair bit. But the contest for second I believe will be absolutely enthralling, as will the contests for first place in groups C and D.

    We will see free-flowing, passionate rugby league that we arguably don’t see enough of in the NRL, and the simple fact that there will be rugby league until the start of December is awesome! But rather than pretending that this is something that it’s not, let’s just enjoy it for what it is.

    The Ashes are here! After all the build-up, follow all the first Test action between Australia and England with our Ashes live scores and blog.