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Australia vs Samoa

2017 Rugby League World Cup, November 17

Darwin Stadium, NT, Aus
Australia Samoa
46 SCORE 0
8 Tries 0
7 Conversions 0
0 Penalty Goals 0
0 Field Goals 0

The finals of the Rugby League World Cup have arrived, with Australia facing an inconsistent Samoa in Darwin. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 8:30pm (AEDT).

The weather could make this one of the toughest games of the tournaments. Current forecasts for the Northern Territory capital have temperatures as high as 33 degrees, with thunderstorms and nearly 90 per cent humidity.

If there are conditions less suited to rugby league, I’m yet to hear about them.

The Kangaroos will look to jump out to an early lead so they can take their stars off at the end of the game.

It may not be what Mal Meninga wants to do, given Australia’s problems have been in attack. They have let in just two tries across three games, but have been hampered by errors, despite the scores they ran up against France and Lebanon in their last two matches.

Picking a different 17 each week to give everyone a run hasn’t helped their cause, but they seemingly have their best side on the park from here on out. The only change from the opening match against England is that of the injured Jake Trbojevic missing out for Josh McGuire.

Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Michael Morgan and Cameron Smith will lead Australia around the park, but it’s the forward battle where this game will be won and lost.

Samoa have struggled given expectations coming into the tournament. It was always going to be a difficult run in what became known as the group of death, but a 14-all draw with a Scotland side missing Danny Brough last week simply wasn’t good enough.

Their halves, Ben Roberts and Jerome Luai, must find a way to step up if they are to get over the line. Jazz Tevaga and Young Tonumaipea round out a relatively weak spine, and it’s shown during their group games.

Even with a strong forward pack, consisting of Josh Papalii, Frank Pritchard, Leeson Ah Mau and Junior Paulo, they have been bullied throughout their games and the same will happen here if they don’t change their approach.

Prediction
Australia should win, but it may not be as dominant as people think. The weather won’t be conducive to high scoring footy and the Kangaroos will be trying to preserve themselves for a semi-final against New Zealand.

Australia by 20.

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One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.