On the couch
Most New Zealand interest in the first of tonight’s two Rugby League World Cup finals is on the Kiwi Ferns, who take on Australia. Led by rampaging try- scorer Honey Hireme, the Ferns have swept all before them, including a 52- 4 semifinal romp over England. The Jillaroos have been equally impressive and go into the Suncorp Stadium finale undefeated in 2017, having beaten New Zealand in May’s Anzac test. Australia beat Canada 58- 6 in their semifinal. The Ferns are chasing a fourth title after victories in 2000 ( inaugural), 2005 and 2008. They lost 22- 12 to Australia in the 2013 final. The men’s decider has an air of inevitability about it. The bookies see it that way: Australia are at $ 1.12, England $ 6.70. Who would bet against Billy Slater, in his last test of an amazing career, and the green and gold machine? Sit back and enjoy the last two games of a long season.