Australia has shown their class by defeating a spirited New Zealand side in front of more than 20,000 fans at Perth’s NIB stadium.
Both teams started the game aggressively in both attack and defence. Kiwis prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves gave away the first penalty of the game when he clothes lined Australian five-eighth Johnathan Thurston in the third minute.
The first try of the game came in the eighth minute scored by Kangaroos fullback Darius Boyd. Boyd took advantage of some poor communication in defence on the Kiwis right edge and crossed in the corner untouched.
Australian centre Greg Inglis scored the next points of the game in the 14th minute. Inglis put debutant winger Valentine Holmes into space and recovered a kick from Holmes that bounced off the opposing fullback Jordan Kahu’s head to score the second try for Australia making it 8-0.
Midway through the first half, New Zealand halfback Shaun Johnson showed his characteristic magic to set up the Kiwis first and only try of the night. Johnson gave a short pass to second-rower Kevin Proctor who ran a perfect line to bust through Australia’s defence and cross the white stripe. Isaac Luke successfully converted the try to take the score to 8-6.
Both teams went set for set for the remainder of the first half and went into the break with the score unchanged at 8-6.
It only took Australia three minutes of the second half to cross the line once more with an error from Kiwi centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall. Thurston pounced on a loose ball passing to Inglis who threw the ball to a flying Holmes. Holmes flew down the sideline to cross the line for the first time in Australian colours. Thurston converted the try with a great kick from the sideline pushing the score to 14-6.
Inglis scored his second try of the game in the 68th minute putting the game beyond doubt. Kangaroo skipper Cameron Smith placed a grubber kick from dummy-half close to the try line which bounced favourably off Inglis’s leg and allowing him to fall on the ball over the line and score the try. Thurston successfully converted the try to make it 20-6.
New Zealand had a chance to score a late try but the was denied because Kiwi rookie centre Solomone Kata was ruled to be offside.
Australian second-rower Boyd Cordner scored the final try of the night with a strong run off a Thurston short ball. Thurston converted the try making the final score 26-6.
New Zealand coach David Kidwell will have to do plenty of work with his team before the start of the Four Nations tournament at the end of this month. – Paul Burns
Photo of the Australian team from the NRL Facebook page.