The 4 nations kicks off in just over 14 days when Scotland take on Australia at Craven Park , the question is can Scotland over come the odds or are they just playing for pride?
Scotland will be making their 4 nations debut later on this month however they are massive underdogs compared to the likes of Australia , New Zealand and England. The question is can Scotland produce an upset and show why Scotland they are a force to be reckoned with.
Firstly lets talk about their squad , on paper it doesn’t seem that appealing however if you look closely they have some very talented players in their such as Warrington’s Matty Russell and Castleford’s Frankie Mariano.
Also they have one of the best kickers in Super League Danny Brough of the Huddersfield Giants who will no doubt lead them out against the Australians on the 28th of October. These 3 players alone have shown their talents in the Super League this season with Mariano being the surprise of the three by making his way up the Castleford ranks before damaging his ribs which led to him being out for 2 months.
Overall their squad is looking on the weak side however these three talented players have the ability to make a weak side into a great one and could see the Scottish upset the Australians.
Here is the squad in full:
Danny Addy (Bradford Bulls,), Euan Aitkin (St George Illawarra Dragons, ), Ryan Brierley (Huddersfield Giants,), Sam Brooks (Widnes Vikings, ), Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants, ), Tyler Cassel (Wests Tigers,), Lachlan Coote (North Queensland Cowboys), Luke Douglas (Gold Coast Titans), Dale Ferguson (Bradford Bulls), Ben Hellewell (London Broncos, ), Liam Hood (Leigh Centurions), Ben Kavanagh (Bradford Bulls,), Kane Linnett (North Queensland Cowboys, 27/4), Ryan Maneely (Halifax, 22/0), Frankie Mariano (Castleford Tigers,), Billy McConnachie (Ipswich Jets,), Kieran Moran (Hull KR), Brett Phillips (Workington Town, ) Callum Phillips (Workington Town,), Sheldon Powe-Hobbs (Northern Pride), Matthew Russell (Warrington Wolves), Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors), Dave Scott (Batley Bulldogs), Adam Walker (Hull KR).
What will they need to do to beat the other teams?
They will need to keep their cool that’s the first thing , with the likes of Australia , England and New Zealand in the completion Scotland will need to keep their cool and take their time with the ball when they face these giants of Rugby League. Scotland have never played in a 4 nations before and will have the knowledge that the 4th team has never done well in this competition and they will go at their trying to beat this and possible cause an upset on the way however they will need to play “Smart” football to do this which means keeping their defence strong and their attack on point to attack at anytime. Their a few players that the players will have to look out for these are the so called “Danger Men”
Jonathan Thurston (Australia)
The heartbeat of the Australian side and perhaps the best number 7 in the world will be a player that Scotland will want to avoid with 14 years experience on his CV he knows Rugby League inside out and has the best kicking ability of anyone in the NRL which helped the North Queensland Cowboys to the Telstra Premiership in 2015. His kicking can range from place kicks to grubbers into the try area with amazing accuracy this could really help Australia however it could also be Scotland’s worst fear as its his ability with and without the ball that will see Australia score points against the Scots.
Shaun Johnson (New Zealand)
Another brilliant in play kicker is kiwi Shaun Johnson a player that not only has great kicking ability but also has incredible speed with and without the ball this speed has seen him score a number of important tries. The most notable of which (Sorry fellow England fans) came again the English in the 2013 World Cup Semi Final which saw the Kiwi’s beat the English with the last play of the game. This could be a turning point in this years 4 nations and this smart and quick thinking by an incredible player could be the downfall for Scotland and we could see another brilliant performance by Johnson in the 4 nations.
My Score Predictions for Scotland
In my opinion I don’t think Scotland will win a single game due to their far superior opposition however I do think that they will give it everything they have got and here are my score predictions.
Australia 30 – Scotland 8
England 42 – Scotland 4
New Zealand 52 – Scotland 12