Today Sam Bourke takes a look at the optimism in the water out Bondi way, as the Sydney Roosters loo...
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The Australian Philips Kangaroos are in for a very full international season, with the green and gold national team now being scheduled for a minimum of eight test matches. Australia will open their international campaign with the re-introduced ANZAC test against New Zealand which will be played on Friday April 23 at either Brisbane or Newcastle.
They will then have over a four month wait till their next challenge, when they will fly across the Tasman to take on the Kiwis at home in the opening match of the Tri-Series, before then jetting across the globe to compete their three other compulsory fixtures of the event.
Whilst over in Europe, Australia has been scheduled for a clash against France on one of their weeks off in the Tri-Series, as well a match against Wales has also been lined up. The clash against Wales is possibly the least likely to occur, and could see the Australians take on France again, or instead an England A side.
Australia will also have the Tri-Series final to play in, unless NZ and Great Britain & Ireland pull out a performance of a life time to knock the Roos off the top of their international Rugby League perch.
Following the Kangaroos Tri-Series campaign, the tourist will make their way over to New York to create history by being the first ever Australian national Rugby League team to play USA in a test match.
There was also talk that the Kangaroos may make a visit to PNG on their way across to Great Britain for the Tri-Series, however based upon the already large schedule the players have lined up for them, it is unlikely this match will go ahead, with rather the Junior Kangaroos continuing their annual 2 match clash against the Kumuls.
The amazing aspect of the upcoming International schedule for the Australian?s, is it is the most games the national team has played in a season (with the exclusion of World Cup years) since the 1994 tour of Europe. It is also larger than the current draw of the Wallabies (only four games confirmed currently), and the Socceroos, two teams better known for their international appearances than the Kangaroos.
The provisional Australian Philips Kangaroo Test Draw is as follows: April - Australia v New Zealand (Australia) October - New Zealand v Australia (NZ) October - Australia v New Zealand (England) October - Great Britain v Australia (England) November - Wales v Australia (Wales) November - Great Britain v Australia (England) November - France v Australia (France) November - Tri-Nations Final (England) December - USA v Australia (New York, USA)