Kiwi courage not enough to stop scrappy Kangaroos

 Paul Gallen (right) congratulates Kangaroos teammate Blake Ferguson (centre) after he scored a try  at Hunter Stadium. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Paul Gallen (right) congratulates Kangaroos teammate Blake Ferguson (centre) after he scored a try at Hunter Stadium. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

AUSTRALIA was under directions to keep things simple leading up to the Anzac Test, and it was a basic game plan that saw it beat New Zealand 16-0 at Hunter Stadium.

The Kangaroos simply held on to the football better in the first half, completing at 86% to take a match-defining 10-0 lead going into the sheds, completing four more sets than the visitors.

Their attack misfired in the second half, but against a severely under-strength Kiwis side they did enough to break a three-match losing streak to their Trans-Tasman rivals.

After sustained pressure down New Zealand's defensive left edge through champion Queensland spine players Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd, it was Boyd who scored the first try in the 15th minute.

He was deemed to have slightly brushed the try-line with the ball, despite heavy attention from the Kiwi goal-line defence.

Shrewd Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith knows points are never easy to come by in Test football.

So he took the two points in front after Adam Blair flopped on Aussie lock Corey Parker, trying to slow down the play-the-ball in front of the posts in the 19th minute.

 

Kevin Proctor of the Kiwis is tackled by Semi Radradra (left) and Corey Parker of the Kangaroos. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Kevin Proctor of the Kiwis is tackled by Semi Radradra (left) and Corey Parker of the Kangaroos. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

With Australia enjoying a lot more possession, the Kiwi defence cracked again in the 32nd minute.

Tohu Harris, playing out in the centres for the injured Shaun Kenny-Dowall, had done a good job on his opposite Greg Inglis for most of the first half.

That was until the Rabbitohs captain beat him with a classic in-and-away near the line to put Australia up 10-0 in the 32nd minute.

The Kangaroos' attack fell away in the second though, only scoring the one try to Blake Ferguson right on full-time.

Its attacking combinations involving both Queensland and New South Wales players seemed to fall apart at times, after just two training sessions during the week.

The severely undermanned Kiwis put up a brave showing in difficult circumstances, with a stack of stars missing, while Thurston said his team's performance was "very scrappy".

AUSTRALIA 16 (D Boyd, G Inglis, B Ferguson tries; J Thurston, C Smith goals) def NEW ZEALAND 0.

Crowd: 27,724 at Hunter Stadium.

 

Semi Radradra is tackled by Jesse Bromwich of the Kiwis. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.
Semi Radradra is tackled by Jesse Bromwich of the Kiwis. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.


FIVE OBSERVATIONS

1. Fresh blood needed

With the next World Cup to be played at the end of next year, the ageing Australian outfit needs to bring in new personnel.

But with so many proven, experienced performers who played well last night, it would not be easy to give them the tap on the shoulder and move them on.

2. Queensland still No.1

Don't change that spine, though.

The Maroons' spine of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd were a cut above the rest.

They combined well all night and are still in peak form, despite all except Boyd being over 30.

Again, New South Wales will struggle to beat the Maroons this year if those four stay healthy.

3. Kiwis fans don't fret

Their three-match unbeaten streak against their Trans-Tasman neighbours was broken, but Kiwi fans don't have much to worry about.

Australia was scrappy in beating a team minus New Zealand stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Ben Matulino, Manu Vatuvei, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Alex Glenn, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Issac Luke.

4. Morgo IS the game's next superstar

Darren Lockyer was not wrong when he said Michael Morgan could be anything before this game.

He added an extra attacking dimension after coming on from the bench and played an important role in Greg Inglis' try.

Queensland and Australia are in good hands with him waiting in the wings as the next playmaker for both teams.

5. Kahu courageous at fullback

Kiwis custodian Jordan Kahu was impressive wearing the No.1 jersey, the position he made a name for himself as a brilliant high-school footballer.

He got his chance at the back with Boyd having a mortgage on the position at the Broncos and Tuivasa-Sheck injured.

While he didn't have a chance to do much with the ball, Kahu produced two highlights with try-saving tackles on a rampaging Semi Radradra and then Inglis in the second half.



BREAKING: Fire crews are protecting properties from fire

BREAKING: Fire crews are protecting properties from fire

Watch and Act levels have been enacted for three fires

Men face court over alleged drug syndicate

premium_icon Men face court over alleged drug syndicate

They have been accused of involvement in a prison-linked drug ring

Drone flying over bushfire grounds RFS aircraft

premium_icon Drone flying over bushfire grounds RFS aircraft

Fire-fighters disgusted by drone flyover at bushfire

Local Partners