The Tri-Nations rivals clash in World Cup quarter-final at Wellington Regional Stadium with the Wallabies rated marginal favourites following their previous successes over South Africa.
However, the Springboks are unbeaten in the tournament and Matfield believes the New Zealand public will be cheering them on.
"It feels like the New Zealanders will be cheering us," said Matfield.
"It's the first time I've been walking around New Zealand and everyone is saying 'good luck' and 'I hope you do well'.
"I think we might be favourites. They seem to hate the Aussies more than they hate us!"
Australia have won five of the last six meetings between the two sides and were the last team to inflict defeat on South Africa at the World Cup, winning their 2003 quarter-final.
However, Matfield insists all the past matches will prove meaningless in Wellington.
"I truly believe everything that's in the past, is in the past. It doesn't count for anything going into tomorrow's game," said Matfield.
"I think you can feel the pressure building up to the game. You could hear the streets last night. Everyone is coming in for the big games.
"It's all about handling that pressure, taking it into the game and using it to your advantage by getting energy from it."
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