Rugby League World Cup: The battle between New Zealand and Australia for World Cup glory
Australia are in Group B with Fiji, Scotland and Italy; New Zealand are in Group C alongside Ireland, Lebanon and Jamaica; Australia have won every Rugby League World Cup, expect 2008, since 1975
By Megan Wellens
Last Updated: 13/10/22 7:27am
When picking out a favourite to be crowned Rugby League World Cup winners, it is hard to look past the two familiar foes of Australia and New Zealand.
With New Zealand being the only team to have interrupted Australia's domination of the tournament in 2008, they know what it takes to beat the Kangaroos and it is a task they already believe they can complete this year.
- 'I cried for two or three days' - Ackers, Young on unexpected England calls
- RLWC: Meet the men's teams
- RLWC news blog
- Men's, women's and wheelchair fixtures
A mouth-watering semi-final clash is the most likely meet-up between these two sides and they have already earmarked each other as their biggest "threat".
Kiwis captain Jesse Bronwich is confident that his side is more than ready to step up to the challenge.
"If I look at our team on paper and look at the last two matches, it is very exciting and I just want to hurry up and play that first game," said Bronwich.
"I think we have got a really talented team and we can do anything in this tournament, we just need to look after ourselves and play some really good footy.
"(Success is) winning the World Cup for me and we have got the team to do it.
"It is going to be really hard, and it is going to be a challenge, but I think it is a challenge we are up for.
"We have got so many good players in our team that are all very professional and we have also got six boys who played in the NRL Grand Final, and we have got some experienced players and some fresh ones coming through as well.
"I know there is going to be some really tough games but if we put our best footy out there, I am sure we can beat any team without a doubt."
Despite the clear belief he has in his side, Bronwich knows that a match against the Kangaroos is too close to call and with the "dark horses" of Samoa and Tonga exciting spectators, every match is going to be a bruising and tough encounter.
"Australia have won a lot of these sorts of tournaments and they have always got a very stacked team," he added.
"But if you look at all the teams this year, I think it is the most even it has ever been, and Tonga and Samoa are going to be really competitive, and you have got England there as well.
"So, it is going to be a very tough tournament and I think it is going to be a very good tournament to watch.
"I think there will be a dark horse somewhere and I think that will be Samoa or Tonga."
Tedesco: The Kiwis are our biggest challenge | No one will work as hard as us
The confidence that is flowing through the New Zealand camp is matched by their Australian counterparts as they look to keep their grip firmly on the World Cup trophy.
Kangaroos captain James Tedesco also admits that the Kiwis will be a big "challenge" along the way but insists he is more than ready to lead his side to success come November 19.
"I think the Kiwis (are our biggest threat). They are such a strong team, a lot of their players in their squad have had awesome years so they are in form and they have a lot of experienced guys as well," said Tedesco.
"It should be a great challenge.
"I don't think there is a higher honour so there is a lot of excitement to get out there and play so I can't wait.
"As captain my job will be to keep the team as calm as possible no matter what is happening during the game or around training.
"Hopefully I can be a good leader in that way and lead us to some success.
"I think there is a lot of excitement building from that, you don't want to think about it too much and all the external noise but we have got a lot of great players in our side, a lot of players who have had awesome years and now it is just about coming together and playing for our country."
The talk around Australia has been the size of their pack, with many worrying that they are slightly on the lighter side when looking at New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.
However, Tedesco isn't worried and firmly believes that what Australia may miss in size, they make up for in effort.
"We may not be the biggest, but we are the most hardworking," he added.
"If you look across our forwards in general, we are just going to outwork teams, there is no secret to that.
"A lot of those forwards in our team can play 80 minutes so they can just go in rotation for a period then get a rest, then go back on.
"All those one-percenters, those effort areas, that is where we will win those games."