By Gregor Paul in Brisbane
The All Blacks couldn't pull off the great escape for a second time. They couldn't do in Brisbane what they did in Dunedin and weren't able to conjure a magic score in the last three minutes to prevent defeat to a Wallabies side that thoroughly deserved their first victory against the All Blacks since 2015.
And they will know they deserved it because if this was dead rubber, they should have more. What an epic game of football these two sides put on.
Supposedly there wasn't much at stake, but that didn't appear to be the case. Brisbane was treated to something special. Maybe it wasn't always accurate or polished, but the rugby these two played was thrilling and explosive.
Some of the tackling was ridiculous. Huge. High impact stuff that both sets of players will be feeling even when they fly to Europe.
It went to the wire like everyone thought it would because neither team would give up. Neither team would give an inch and it was quite amazing how often a thrilling attack by one team sparked on from the other.
The All Blacks will know they didn't do enough with their attack game. They lost their shape too easily, didn't have enough direct, bruising, straight running and some of their decision-making in the second half was poor.
Frustratingly poor but then that's what you get with a young, inexperienced team. They made mistakes. Too many and at crucial times and when they review the game, they will see that there were too many aimless kicks. Not only that, but they often kicked at times straight after they had been without the ball for an age.
And then there was discipline. It was needlessly poor. Too many dumb penalties and Ofa Tu'ungafasi, who had just made one of the best tackles of his career then gave away a stupid, stupid penalty that allowed Reece Hodge to boot the winning three points.
It was painful stuff for the All Blacks but maybe all part of what they will have to go through to grow as a team.
And a lesson that Australia, when they get it right, though, are a handful. More than and while they might not have the same overall gifts and ability as the All Blacks, they are probably their equal in terms of what they offer as an attacking team.
And the importance of that became apparent early. It felt, even after just 10 minutes, that it was going to be a night where taking chances was going to matter.
It was a bit loose, a bit breathless and with both teams playing with an ambition their execution couldn't quite fulfil, there were going to be opportunities because there were going to be mistakes.
Some of the mistakes were induced by the ferocity of the All Blacks' defence.
There was venom in much of the individual tackling - as if every player wanted to make their own tribute to retiring, long-serving defence coach Wayne Smith.
Kieran Read made a number of hits that would have hurt various Wallabies; Sam Cane and Sonny Bill Williams got their fair share, too and it was a weapon that saw the Wallabies drop a number of balls and start to lose their shape for a period.
But only for a period and it felt like the longer the game went on, the more Australia were in control.
They owned possession for much of the second half. Comfortable with it and patient.They rode the tackles, found a way to continue under immense pressure and built their game.
It was a sign of how good a team they have become - composed and resilient as well as skilled and intelligent.
Australia 23 (R. Hodge, I. Folau, M. Koroibete tries; B. Foley con; R. Hodge 2 pens)
New Zealand 18 (W. Naholo, R. Ioane tries; L. Sopoaga con, 2 pens)