Despite their recent poor record against Australia, Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich is keeping the faith.

New Zealand has lost their last four clashes against the Kangaroos, three of them by emphatic margins.

They emerged with some pride from a 14-8 loss in Coventry during the Four Nations last year, but that was the exception.

The Kiwis lost 16-0 in Newcastle last May in Stephen Kearney's last match in charge, before suffering heavy defeats in Perth (26-6) in October and Anfield (34-8) in the Four Nations final.


It's been a dominant period for the men in green and gold, who have outscored the Kiwis 16 tries to five during that time.

But Bromwich feels the gap is not as big as results would suggest.

"Last year was an exception but before that I thought we were going really well," said Bromwich.

"We are looking at improving. We've put that behind us and had a really strong week. And we have a few new faces who will be jumping around, ready to go."

Though times have changed since the 1980s, when the Kangaroos had an almost mythical status and there was only a handful of New Zealanders in the NRL, beating the Australians still takes a special effort.

"If we play as good as we can we are every chance - if we turn up with the right attitude," said Bromwich. "We know what it takes and we have done it before. We should be up for a huge game."

"We know what's coming - they are going to be clinical, try to slow the play the ball down, and we need to be more energetic in winning that area of the game."

The Kiwis have to personally and collectively perform, kick well, make good decisions on attack and defence and hope for some goodwill from the officials.

Bromwich's Melbourne Storm teammate Cameron Smith looms, yet again, as the major obstacle. Though Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston tend to grab the headlines,

Smith is invariably the most influential player in these matches, and probably the most consistent Kangaroo since Darren Lockyer.

"You can have plans but it is easier said than done to stop him," said Bromwich. "When you are coming up against him, our forwards as a pack have to be doing their job. You can't have one person doing their job and another one having a rest...we've all got to be on the same page."

"[Cameron] has such a good ability at knowing when to slow things down and when to speed things up. When you have played that many games he knows exactly what to do and what to expect."

Despite the travails of the past year, there are some reasons for hope.

The return of Simon Mannering and Kieran Foran is massive for this Kiwis team, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck adds a new dimension to their attack.

Dean Whare is also an important return; he was part of the three successive wins between 2014-15 and his centre combination with Jordan Kahu should be defensively stronger than other recent pairings.

The ability of the Kiwis forwards - especially Russell Packer and Martin Taupau - to balance aggression with control will be key, while Shaun Johnson and Foran will need to match the Kangaroos' renowned kicking game.