Saturday’s Test between Australia and New Zealand, the first rugby league international in the WA capital, is shaping as the battle of the giants.
New Kiwis coach David Kidwell has made his intentions clear by naming a massive forward pack for the nib Stadium encounter.
Kangaroos mentor Mal Meninga won’t name his side until Friday. but the nine-times State of Origin winning coach is set to match the Kiwis brawn up front with some of his own.
Captain Jesse Bromwich will lead a monster Kiwis pack that includes Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris , Jason Taumalolo and bench forwards Martin Taupau, Manu Ma’u and Adam Blair.
Back-rower Sam Thaiday said the Australians know what is coming at them.
“You expect that from the Kiwis now to pick a big, big forward pack,” Thaiday told AAP.
“That is the way and the style of football they like to play.
“Off the back of their bigs like Jesse Bromwich they can get quick play the balls and offloads and bring their small and mobile halves and outside backs into the game.
“We need to make sure we match it early against the Kiwis.”
The Australians will counter the Kiwis’ grunt up front with go forward from the likes of Matt Scott, Shannon Boyd, David Klemmer, Trent Merrin, Tyson Frizell and Thaiday.
Back-rower Matt Gillett will be asked to do plenty of tackling for the Kangaroos but he is confident they can match their Kiwis opposites with ball in hand.
“I am pretty happy we have Klemmer and big Boydy there to contain their big forwards,” Gillett said.
“David is obviously a massive boy and Boydy too, those two big boys are going to be very damaging for us if they can get a roll on and give our halves and Smithy (hooker Cameron Smith) a chance to play football it will be great.”
The Australians held their main training session at the University of WA on Wednesday afternoon.
They have Thursday off, before the captain’s run at nib Stadium on Friday morning, before which Meninga is expected to announce his side.
Centre Greg Inglis is scheduled to arrive in Perth on Thursday after he stayed behind in Sydney for the birth of his daughter.
Inglis will only have the captain’s run to prepare for the Test but is expected to slot into left centre alongside likely debutant Valentine Holmes on the left wing.
LAND OF THE GIANTS
Kiwis pack heights and weights
Jesse Bromwich (194cm, 114kg)
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (193cm, 116kg)
Kevin Proctor (189cm, 105kg)
Tohu Harris (195cm, 108kg)
Jason Taumalolo (191cm, 113kg)
Martin Taupau (190cm, 112kg)
Manu Ma’u (184cm, 103kg)
Adam Blair (188cm, 114kg)
Kangaroos pack weights
Matt Scott (185cm, 106kg)
Shannon Boyd (194cm, 122kg)
David Klemmer (200cm, 120kg)
Trent Merrin (184cm, 104kg)
Tyson Frizell (185cm, 103kg)
Sam Thaiday (182cm, 112kg)
Matt Gillett (187cm, 104kg)