Kiwis out to restore New Zealand's faith

Annette Crawford
October 16, 2018

Australia hit the front in the second minute with a well taken try by Valentine Holmes and regained the lead 12-8 on the stroke of half-time with a try to Dane Gagai, a late addition to the Kangaroos squad.

The win is a boost for the game in New Zealand after the disappointment of a World Cup campaign in which they suffered back-to-back losses to Tonga and Fiji and were eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Hooker Smith put the Kiwis ahead for the first time when he crashed over from dummy-half in the 54th minute for Shaun Johnson to convert, and they added two more tries from Esarn Marsters and Jordan Rapana, which came from a superb Manu offload near the corner post.

New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak declared that the Kiwis would only continue to improve as they begun a new era for worldwide football by inflicting the first defeat in Mal Meninga's tenure as Australian coach.

"But we're still building". Smart Stadium was less than half full. "We've got to continually back up these type of performances and that's when you can start talking about the team and where we're going", Maguire said.

Australia, in contrast, is rebuilding after the retirements of veterans Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, and New Zealand took advantage of a leadership vacuum.

"From my point you nearly feel like you've left the past players down", Cook said.


New Zealand trailed 12-8 at the break despite dominating possession and territory in the opening period.

Australia mounted a desperate late attack with two tries in the closing five minutes before running out of time.

"We want to give this nation what they deserve". Smith had a second disallowed.

The 27-year-old South Sydney Rabbitohs flyer only made the squad in a reshuffle when original skipper Greg Inglis was suspended after being caught allegedly drink driving, which saw Boyd Cordner promoted to captain.

"The boys have spoken about what sort of team they want to be so the fans do come on the ride with us". "Our ball control was pretty disappointing".

Next Saturday's Test between Tonga and Australia at Mount Smart is already sold out, prompting fears the Mate Ma'a were winning the battles for the hearts and minds of the public in New Zealand.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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