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Australia vs Samoa predictions: Aussies to end Samoan fairytale at Old Trafford
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Tom Hill
LiveScore
Mal Meninga led Australia to glory at the 2017 World Cup
Mal Meninga led Australia to glory at the 2017 World Cup

- Australia hoping to win their 12th World Cup 
- Samoa are making their first appearance in a World Cup final 
- Recommended bet: Australia -18.5 handicap

Twelve months after it should have taken place, the 2021 Rugby League World Cup final is finally upon us as Australia prepare to face Samoa at Old Trafford.

Hosts England saw their final ambitions dashed as they lost 27-26 in Golden Point to Toa Samoa at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.

Holders Australia also had to work hard for their place in the final, but they came through a bruising encounter against New Zealand at Elland Road, as they won 16-14.

Team news

Australia coach Mal Meninga has named a 19-man squad for the final, but he has made no changes following the win over New Zealand.

Meninga says he is happy with the attitude and performance of all 24 players throughout the tournament.

Still, Daly Cherry-Evans and Ruben Cotter are expected to drop out of the 19 ahead of Saturday's final.

Junior Paulo is available for Samao
Junior Paulo is available for Samao

While Australia have nothing to worry about injury-wise so far, Samoa have a few woes to overcome before kick-off.

Fa'amanu Brown is set to watch from the stands at Old Trafford after suffering a concussion against England when he clashed heads with team-mate Oregon Kaufusi.

Chanel Harris-Tavita is likely to start the game at hooker, but Samoa coach Matt Parish is without a backup due to further complications suffered earlier in the tournament.

Danny Levi was forced to fly home to Australia due to a family emergency before the semi-final, but it is not all doom and gloom, with prop Junior Paulo once again escaping a ban.

He is free to play after receiving a caution for a lifting tackle on England prop Tom Burgess.

The stats

The Aussies remain the best team in the 13-man code, and they have won their last 17 matches at the Rugby League World Cup.

In their previous two matches against Samoa, Australia have not struggled in any department.

They beat them 44-18 in the Four Nations in 2014 before then thumping them in the quarter-finals of the 2017 World Cup, coming home with a 46-0 victory.

Australia have grown with confidence as the tournament has progressed, with the holders winning by 44 points or more in three of their last four.

Prediction

The 13-man code would be given such a lift if Samoa got their hands on the trophy, but that looks extremely unlikely, considering Australia's form and performance levels.

The Aussies were pushed all the way by New Zealand, but Meninga's side will only grow in confidence after coming through such a test.

Samoa have nothing to lose and will try a few trick plays to get over the line, but their growing injury list will likely be their downfall.

While they should have what it takes to score a few tries of their own, Samoa should struggle to keep up with Australia down the stretch.

Australia are 17/20 with LiveScore Bet to cover the -18.5 handicap, and after scoring over 200 points already this autumn, they should have no problem doing it again with the world watching.

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