These are my predictions for the Australian and New Zealand test sides for the ANZAC test team coming up after Round 7. The teams were picked on current form and also includes players injured or suspended who would otherwise deserve a test spot.
1 Billy Slater - Melbourne Storm
2 Brett Morris - St George Illawarra Dragons
3 Michael Jennings - Penrith Panthers
4 Josh Morris - Canterbury Bulldogs
5 Akuila Uate - Newcastle Knights
6 Johnathon Thurston - North Queensland Cowboys
7 Cooper Cronk - Melbourne Storm
8 Matt Scott - North Queensland Cowboys
9 Cameron Smith - Melbourne Storm
10 Sam Thaiday - Brisbane Broncos
11 Ben Creagh - St George Illawarra Dragons
12 Tony Williams - Manly Sea Eagles
13 Paul Gallen - Cronulla Sharks
14 Luke Lewis - Penrith Panthers
15 Tom Leroyd-Lars - Canberra Raiders
16 Jayson Bukuya - Cronulla Sharks
17 Todd Carney - Cronulla Sharks
18th Man Greg Inglis - South Sydney Rabbitohs
1 Juston Hoffman - Brisbane Broncos
2 Joseph Leilua - Sydney Roosters
3 Shaun Kenny-Dowell - Sydney Roosters
4 Steve Matai - Manly Sea Eagles
5 Jason Nightingale - St George Illawarra Dragons
6 Benji Marshall - West Tigers
7 Shaun Johnson - New Zealand Warriors
8 Jared Warea-Hargreaves - Sydney Roosters
9 Isaac Luke - South Sydney Rabbitohs
10 Ben Matulino - New Zealand Warriors
11 Simon Mannering - New Zealand Warriors
12 Sika Manu - Melbourne Storm
13 Alex Glenn - Brisbane Broncos
14 Frank Pritchard - Canterbury Bulldogs
15 Fui Fui Moi Moi - Parramatta Eels
16 Russel Packer - New Zealand Warriors
17 Keiran Foran - Manly Sea Eagles
18th Man Sam Perrett - Sydney Roosters
Australia - Jennings/Morris, traditionally the centre position for the Australian test team has been dominated by Queensland stars. Despite this, Jennings and Morris have far outshone all of their test rivals and thoroughly deserve spots. Greg Inglis, however, has had a wonderful beginning to the season in the fullback position for the Rabittohs and had Billy Slater not had such a great beginning to the year also he would be a walk-in to the Australian fullback position.
New Zealand - Shaun Johnson, Many would say that Keiran Foran should be Marshall’s halves partner, however, with Johnson’s current form and New Zealand’s need for a full-time halfback coach Kearney will probably choose him to lead the side. Foran will also be a great addition later in the game and could prove a handful for tired forwards.
Australia - Jayson Bukuya, Australian coach Tim Sheens is known for picking a side on form and as a result the largely in-form Bukuya could see himself as a huge surprise pick for the Australian test side.
New Zealand - Joseph Leilua, I have huge wraps for the baby-faced assassin BJ Leilua. Has been in fine form for the Roosters and I thought he was unlucky not to receive man-of-the-match honours in their win over the Titans. Could be a huge X-factor for the Kiwi’s and deserves to hold a spot over Manu Vatuvei.