Jesse Bromwich summed the mood up perfectly after the Kiwis crushing 34-8 defeat to the Kangaroos on Monday morning.

The captain sat with his head bowed for much of the post match press conference, as coach David Kidwell took most of the questions.

When Bromwich was eventually asked for his view on what went wrong in the first half, where the Kiwis shipped four unanswered tries, the Melbourne Storm prop got to the heart of the matter.

"The cannot do that in this tournament, let alone in the final," said Bromwich.


"You might as well give them the ball and let them score a try there. We were working hard enough out there and to put pressure on ourselves like we did is just tough."

From the third minute, when Solomone Kata lost the ball in the shadow of his posts (though on another day referee Ben Cummins could have easily ruled a strip), the Kiwis were a calamity of errors. Even the rare positive moments turned sour, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Shaun Johnson coughing up the ball in good attacking positions early in the first half.

The Kiwis looked nervous, ill-prepared and not ready for either the occasion, or what the Kangaroos were going to throw at them. It was an eerie repeat of the 2013 World Cup final, but Bromwich denied that the New Zealand team were overawed by the occasion.

"I don't know if I would call it stage fright," said Bromwich. "I keep going back to those seven errors in 20 minutes. I don't know if I have played a game where we have done that before."

Bromwich was one of the few who emerged with his reputation intact from the Anfield match, and the tournament. He ran for 125 metres on Monday - as well as 25 tackles - and never stopped trying, as he has done all tournament. Storm teammate Kevin Proctor also impressed (41 tackles), as did fullback Jordan Kahu with his late brace.

For his part, Kidwell denied there was anything amiss with the team's focus before the match.

"I don't think anything was wrong with it," said Kidwell. "I think those errors cost us. That's the simple answer and they got out to a lead that was uncatchable really."

"We need to look at ourselves as a whole group. It's not any individual, it's a team. It's a team game. We win as a team, we lose as a team."

Kidwell also refused to acknowledge any selection mistakes, saying that "hindsight's a wonderful thing."

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