League: Kangaroos edge Kiwis

By Steve Deane

The Kiwis stand in goal waiting for a conversion attempt during the International Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis. Photo / Getty Images.
The Kiwis stand in goal waiting for a conversion attempt during the International Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis. Photo / Getty Images.

Australia 18
New Zealand 10

The Kiwis produced one of their best performances in recent times in a one-off test against the Kangaroos, however they still came up short, losing a thrilling match in Townsville 18-10.

Although the signs were positive enough, the ultimate failing was familiar - they simply didn't score enough points.

Ten is never going to be enough to beat Australia. They had their chances to at least double that tally, but the final pass never stuck, and in the end the Kangaroos claimed the victory thanks to a second half penalty and a try by Darius Boyd eight minutes from full time.

Until that point the game was anyone's, with Josh Hoffman coming closest to breaking it open for the Kiwis.

That the Kiwis' major tormentor was Palmerston North born prop James Tamou won't have made the defeat any easier to swallow for the Kiwis.

In a tremendous first half of football it was the Kiwis who drew first blood.

Just as he did in May's Anzac test, hooker Issac Luke opened the scoring with a typical dummy half scoot after Krisnan Inu had been dragged down close to the line.

It was fair reward for the Kiwis, who turned in slick start to edged the opening exchanges.

Debutant prop Sam Kasiano was particularly prominent, producing some surging runs, with Kangaroos tacklers clinging onto his 130kg frame like Lilliputians.

The game changed when Kasiano departed for the bench, with the Kangaroos slowly but surely negotiating the upper hand.

Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith finally unlocked the resilient Kiwis defence, pouncing with an angled 5m run from dummy half after his side had returned a 60m Inu line drop out to within sight of the line on three tackles.

Just when the Kiwis appeared to have a weathered a 15 minute storm of Kangaroos pressure, James Tamou struck, surging through a gap courtesy of a Cooper Cronk skip pass to score his first try for his adoptive nation after stepping Kiwis fullback Josh Hoffman with ease.

The Kangaroos appeared set to take a lead into half time but the Kiwis showed they had plenty of spark left, with Gerard Beale scoring out wide after Sam Perrott had soared above Billy Slater to claim a towering Benji Marshall bomb.

Quick hands from Luke and Dean Whare laid on the try for Beale out wide, with Inu's missed conversion attempt sending the sides to the break locked at 10-10.

The Kiwis went close to going ahead from a long range break out 12 minutes into the second half but Hoffman spilled Elijah Taylor's desperate pass 5m from the line.

The Kangaroos had the next chance, only to denied when Thurston was brilliantly held up by Hoffman and Simon Mannering.

Thurston nudged the Kangaroos in front with an angled penalty goal with 17 minutes remaining after a contentious strip ruling on Inu.

The first try of the half finally came when Nate Myles produced a brilliant offload after stumbling when in a gap. Greg Bird surged deep into Kiwis territory before unloading to Darius Boyd, who angled his run cleverly to score underneath the posts to settle the contest.

Australia: Tries: C. Smith, J. Tamou, D. Boyd; Goals J. Thurston 3
New Zealand: Tries I. Luke, G. Beale; Goal K. Inu

- Herald on Sunday

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