David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Kiwis coach David Kidwell admits he made fundamental errors

Kiwis coach David Kidwell admits he made some fundamental errors and suffered a rude awakening in his first international assignment in Saturday's 26-6 transtasman test defeat to Australia in Perth.

Three weeks into the job after being named as former Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney's successor, Kidwell accepted responsibility for the side's misfiring forward pack and poor set completions in the five-tries-to-one rout at Nib Stadium.

Kidwell admits he mishandled the side's forward interchange rotation and insisted he did not intend on damaging lock Jason Taumalolo spending the majority of the second-half on the sidelines.

The 39-year-old former Kiwis back-rower intends on formulating a clearer game plan that would better utilise the side's strengths and get the best out of halfback Shaun Johnson ahead of their opening Four Nations encounter against England on October 30 (NZT).

"(I) Just some basic fundamental errors that people don't usually make," Kidwell told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch.

"I'm only three weeks into the job and very disappointed in the result yes.

"But the way we prepared, the culture that we're trying to instill in these guys, I couldn't be happier that way.

"Yes we have to fix some stuff at training and we've addressed that as a team and as a senior leadership group.

"I've got to look at some stuff as a new coach myself and make sure that we move forward and get it right for what is going to be the opening test of the Four Nations against England."

The Kiwis were starved of possession and territory during the opening quarter but restricted Australia to two tries and an 8-0 lead before Kevin Proctor crossed to help narrow the margin to two at halftime.

Recalled prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was limited to just four runs in his first test in three years and captain Jesse Bromwich and Taumalolo also struggled to impose themselves against an efficient and relentless Kangaroos forward pack.

After working themselves back into the match the Kiwis then lapsed badly in the third quarter and struggled for go-forward and momentum with Kidwell admitting he erred in keeping Taumalolo and Bromwich off for extended periods.

"The rotation for me was a big learning curve and I didn't intend on that happening like that," he said.

"We'll sit down as a coaching staff and have a look at that and, obviously, one of those points is making sure that JT (Taumalolo) is playing a bit more time and make sure that that doesn't happen again.

"I'll take full responsibility for that but I've got to learn from that and moving forward making sure that that doesn't happen again."

Johnson has worn much of the blame for the side's ineffective attack, with the Warriors playmaker preferring to launch set moves through a deep backline rather than playing on the advantage line.

The Kiwis last tackle options were also helter skelter and other than failed attempts at peppering Kangaroos debutant wing Valentine Holmes, Johnson struggled for ideas on how to build pressure on the Kangaroos.

Kidwell defended Johnson's play and believes unrealistic expectations are often placed on his shoulders but conceded improvements could be made to how they finish their sets.

"I'll sit down with Shaun and we'll have a look at those fifth tackle options," said Kidwell.

"I know from talking to him, he's a guy who sees stuff that other people don't see.

"We've just got to make sure we're communicating that stuff, make sure that we've got a good game plan around him so that he can play his best football."

Despite his brutal initiation, Kidwell is adamant the Kiwis will improve in the coming weeks as they build cohesion throughout their Four Nations title defence.

"Everyone here is hurting, which I want. There are good signs there for us.

"We've just got to make sure that we produce what we're doing off the field at training and introduce it into our performance come game day."

- NZ Herald

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