Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Halberg top moments: Kiwis give Kangaroos taste of shock and awe

Sitting in the Suncorp Stadium media box at halftime in the Anzac test last year, it was hard to know what was more extraordinary: the scoreboard - that read New Zealand 26 Australia 6 - or the reaction of the local journalists.

Almost to a man they had given up on their team.

We had just witnessed one of the great Kiwis performances, and their shock was understandable. The Kangaroos, looking to continue their stranglehold on the Anzac test, had led 6-0 after 20 minutes from a Sam Thaiday try. Then the mayhem started, as the Kiwis crossed for four tries before halftime. There was a brace to Manu Vatuvei, a trademark individual effort by Shaun Johnson and a long range team try finished off by Shaun Kenny-Dowall near the posts. And there could have been two or three more, as New Zealand, off the back of a ferocious forward effort, constantly bent the Kangaroos' defensive line.

It wasn't supposed to be like that. New Zealand hadn't won an Anzac test since 1998. There was cautious optimism after Stephen Kearney's men had triumphed in the 2014 Four Nations but, as the Aussie scribes had pointed out regularly, that was against a weakened Kangaroos squad.

The incomparable Jonathan Thurston was back for the Anzac test, as were the likes of Michael Jennings and James Tamou. But the result was more emphatic than anyone could have imagined.

The Kangaroos dominated in the second half but only added one try, denied by some steadfast defence. The victory meant the Kiwis had recorded three successive wins over the Kangaroos for the first time in more than 60 years.

Kiwi sports fans can vote for their choice by text message (once per day) or online at www.sportingmoment.co.nz.

How to vote:


Voting is now open for the Radio Sport Sporting Moment award. You can vote once a day from now until 9.00pm on Thursday 18 February 2016.

1. Online
Vote at www.sportingmoment.co.nz

2. TXT
Text your Radio Sport Sporting Moment's unique code to 818:
1. Txt Sm1 to 818 to vote for SKYCITY Breakers
2. Txt Sm2 to 818 to vote for Grant Elliott
3. Txt Sm3 to 818 to vote for Kiwis
4. Txt Sm4 to 818 to vote for The Highlanders
5. Txt Sm5 to 818 to vote for Vodafone Warriors
6. Txt Sm6 to 818 to vote for Richie McCaw
7. Txt Sm7 to 818 to vote for Lydia Ko
8. Txt Sm8 to 818 to vote for All Blacks
9. Txt Sm9 to 818 to vote for Ross Taylor
10. Txt Sm10 to 818 to vote for Football Ferns
Standard text fees apply on all text votes.

Everyone who votes in the Radio Sport Sporting Moment Award before midnight on the 9 February, 2016 goes in the draw to win a trip for two including flights and accommodation to the 53rd Halberg Awards at Vector Arena, Auckland on Thursday 18 February 2016. Visit www.sportingmoment.co.nz to read the competition terms & conditions.

- NZ Herald

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