That's more like it Shaun Johnson.

The Kiwis' playmaker was the difference against England, along with Jason Taumalolo and Martin Taupau. But will Johnson come up with the goods again? That's the big question over the erratic No. 7.

I went out of the way to bag Johnson after the Perth debacle, because his soft centre is a country (and club) killer. And you'll get no apologies here for that after he led New Zealand to a 17 - 16 win in England.

Johnson is a lovely bloke who can't wait to take responsibility when things go wrong. But he needs to stop having things to put his hand up for. Bottom line: he remains a long way short of being a halfback you can always rely on.


The great news for the Kiwis, and anyone who loves league, is Martin Taupau. The magnificent Taumalolo was like a bulldozer powering through a scrap yard in Huddersfield, but interchange forward Taupau was the standout with his raw-boned runs and efforts to keep the ball alive. He is fantastic to watch, and turned the game New Zealand's way.

The close score in Huddersfield made this an exciting test, but it wasn't even close to top quality leaving Australia as even stronger favourites to take the Four Nations title.

Stony-faced Wayne Bennett's opening salvo as England coach was a flop and his captain a contributor to the problems. Sam Burgess clocked up 200 metres and had top moments including the early smashing of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. But Burgess made unnecessary mistakes and wasn't the influential Big Sam of old.

England dominated the opening quarter but couldn't get across the line, their best chance being snuffed out by a marvellous Jesse Bromwich tackle on James Graham after a poor defensive read by Adam Blair near the tryline.

David Kidwell will be a relieved man, after notching his first win as Kiwis coach. But in the cold light of day, Kidwell has major problems.

If England and the Kiwis don't drastically improve, Australia will win this tournament in a canter because Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk will be too well organised for them.

The Kiwis have concerning holes in their operation. Waerea-Hargreaves had another low involvement test after his Perth shocker but utility Greg Eastwood is the only logical replacement. Interchange prop Blair was okay but those theatrical efforts to milk penalties are damned annoying. He is hard to miss with all that hair, but didn't provide the physical grunt and is a patchy defender.

Taumalolo's relentless rumble forward will make up for a lot of the prop problems, but the Kiwis need a platform to start games much better. Kidwell's recall for Waerea-Hargreaves is proving a mistake and the 24-man squad has been exposed for lacking dedicated, in form props. Previous coach Steve Kearney had given up on Waerea-
Hargreaves for a while, and with good reason as it turns out.

Added to that, centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall put his Perth nightmare behind him, but only just. He looks out of sorts. Trying the uncapped David Fusitu'a would be a bit of a punt. Half Thomas Leuluai has a concussion issue.

Johnson's intercept try put the Kiwis on the road to victory, and his field goal finished the job. His short kicking, often under pressure, was sensational as was his ability to clutch poor passes thrown at him and still make a good play. But he still made kicking errors and another Johnson dud is never far away.

England have the forwards to test Australia but may not even make the final. England's centres are sub-standard. Kidwell's Kiwis are unreliable. It's hard to see Australia being beaten. New Zealand and England should be grateful that Australia banned the Cronulla colossus Andrew Fifita.