Who will come out on top and why at Old Trafford this weekend.
They are the two best rugby league nations in the world, so it is only fitting they meet in the pinnacle of the sport, with the World Cup coming to a head this weekend.
Arguably New Zealand has had a better lead-up to the final game of the tournament after their heart-stopping win against England last weekend.
While the Aussies rolled over the top of an out-matched Fiji side in their semi-final, with the Kangaroos not really being tested through much of the tournament.
Despite this the players that make up the side play in the toughest competition in the world in the NRL and battle in the State of Origin level, so preparedness for the biggest game of he tournament should not be a problem.
New Zealand enter the final as the slight favourites as they hold the trophy from their 2008 upset in the last final, a loss which should give Australian captain Cameron Smith and his men all of the motivation to get back, what they think, is rightfully theirs.
Sam Thaiday (AUS) v Sonny Bill Williams (NZL)
Brisbane Broncos captain Thaiday and his pack of forwards will be gunning for Williams, the code-crossing star newly crowned as the world’s best rugby league player. The Kiwi was largely nullified in attack against England in the semi-final as the host nation cracked down on his offloading skills. But Thaiday and co. will have to be on the mark because given the slightest opportunity, Williams will surely take it.
Cameron Smith (AUS) v Issac Luke (NZL)
The Australian captain is an experienced campaigner who has made the international federation’s ‘team of the year’ four times since its inception seven years ago, but this year lost out to Luke. The Kiwi has been on fire for the defending champions, and is the man who has made most metres with his darting scoots from dummy half, a constant threat with ball in hand.
Johnathan Thurston (AUS) v Shaun Johnson (NZL)
The team’s respective kickers and half-backs that make each side tick over, Thurston’s boot is arguably better than Johnson’s. But the Kiwi showed all his silky running skills in zipping around Kevin Sinfield to score the try that drew new Zealand level in the dying seconds of the semi-final against England – he then showed great composure to dust himself down to nail the pressure conversion for the victory.
Billy Slater/Greg Inglis (AUS) v Kevin Locke (NZL)
Australia coach Tim Sheens will be hoping star fullback Billy Slater will have recovered from a knee injury and make the paddock. Should he not do it, Greg Inglis would be more than an adequate deputy under the Kiwi high ball. Locke has beaten off the claims of Josh Hoffman for the number one shirt and is graced with two powerful centres and supportive wingers on the Kiwi side.