Test Head to Head: Matulino v Tamou
Wednesday 10 October 2012 11:00 AM
Let’s break down the big men Ben Matulino and James Tamou as the Kangaroos and Kiwis go at it in Townsville on Saturday.
Ben Matulino - Scouting Report
Juggernaut who had an outstanding season for the Vodafone Warriors gets his chance to perform on the big stage once again - the same stage where he announced himself as a genuine Test player back in the 2010 Four Nations.
In the space of four seasons he has become a Test regular, with his punishing runs and strong defence making him a cornerstone in the Kiwi lineup.
Matulino will relish the chance to stand toe to toe with the Australian pack, especially surrounded by the likes of Jesse Bromwich, Sam Kasiano, Greg Eastwood and Frank Pritchard.
During 2012, he produced two huge games - running for 225 metres on 22 carries in Round 14 against Penrith, and his 21 runs produced 177 metres against the Cowboys in Round 17.
His offload count is lower than he’s capable of, with 17 offloads considerably lower than his abilities suggest he should create.
And at 23, he could get even better...
Runs/Metres: 13.8 for 126.5 per game
Tackles: 18.3 per game
Tackle Breaks: 38
Though he is likely to be injected from the New Zealand bench, Matulino should still get a chance to throw himself into a front row war with Australia’s James Tamou...
James Tamou - Scouting Report
The big unit has made huge strides in 2012 - beginning the season as a good club prop and ending it by retaining his spot the Australian front row via three State of Origin games for New South Wales.
His form throughout the season was first class, and he seemed to just get better and better as the season progressed. Despite the Cowboys being knocked out in the second week of the finals, Tamou still stood out on a beaten team - running for 226 metres on 19 carries, with two line breaks, 26 tackles, seven offloads, eight tackle breaks and a try.
Tamou topped 19 carries on seven occasions and cracked the 150 metres gained mark 16 times in 24 games.
And he’s still just 23 as well... so how good can he get?
Line Breaks: 5
Runs/Metres: 16.4 for 155.0 per game
Tackles: 24.8 per game
Tackle Breaks: 85
Arguably had a better season than fellow rep prop Matthew Scott - which is quite an effort. But can Tamou outpoint Matulino in Townsville?
The Townsville Test marks the final game of the 2012 rugby league season in Australia, so who takes bragging rights into next season - the Kangaroos or the Kiwis?