Earlier this year
Illawarra v New Zealand Jan 18
Last time they met, New Zealand were all over Illawarra at Hamilton like a Gilette razor on a soy-boy's face. I would have said a feminist's armpit, but I don't think razors go there.
Long was in full beast mode and single handedly tore the Hawks apart.
Although both these teams are holding hands with Cairns in the bottom half of the table, both teams are kinda still in the hunt. Sure, they have to win essentially all their remaining games, and hope results go their way, but the chances of that are about as great as a white knight getting out of the friend-zone.
Back to the game at hand. Illawarra do play well at home, but there is something about this Hawks teams that is missing. When Bevo was standing over his witch's cauldron pre-season preparing his brew, the assistant coaches stirring the cauldron anti-clockwise for the best result, it is almost like he forgot to add the pinch of newt. New Zealand have been inconsistent IMHO and dropped games they should have won and won games they shouldn't have. Their run and gun game has been hit and miss this season.
It's been a crazy second half of the season, but when it comes down to it, while the Breakers will do their best to out-shoot and out-run the Hawks, the Hawks at home just seem to squeeze the lemon in games they need too to make games competitive.
New Zealand by 3 in a low scoring slugfest.