ANY GIVEN MONDAY (Sunday edition)
The view from the terraces can be the most unreliable in sport. The distance between the eye and the action, the erratic commentary from those around you and other environmental elements mean you can never narrow your focus like you can on the couch.
So take it with a grain of salt when I say the All Blacks looked as awesome in Auckland as they were poor in Perth. The scoreboard would suggest that's an irrefutable truth, but there are others better positioned to deliver sound judgment.
Likewise, while it appeared to me that the individual skills of the backline improved fivefold – some of the handling in wet conditions by Anton Lienert-Brown, Richie Mo'unga and brothers Barrett was of a different world – it was the venom in the forwards that was the difference maker.
Chirpy and effervescent a long week ago, the Wallabies by contrast looked bedraggled, the air deflating from their balloon as soon as the second of Christian Lealiifano's penalty attempts missed. By halftime they had all the enthusiasm of a classroom of boys who thought they were going to Rainbow's End but ended up on a field trip to a Fonterra factory instead.
This is all grist for the analysis mill, but for now my overriding takeaway from Eden Park is that All Blacks supporters have grown so accustomed to success they've forgotten how to be a crowd.
This was a big game for any number of reasons, not least that the cherished Bledisloe Cup was genuinely on the line. I expected the stadium to be crackling with energy from the start, but the only sense of community seemed to come from 30,000 people dressed for a funeral recording the haka on their phones.
Eden Park's piecemeal development and cricket ground dimensions make it difficult to achieve the cauldron effect that makes live sport so compelling, but to blame a stadium would be missing the point.
For the first half an hour you would have found more fizz in a half-empty can of Rheineck than you did on the bleachers. Even a lacklustre rendition of the global laughingstock "black, black, black" chant would have been welcomed.
It would be exaggerating to say you could hear a pin drop but you could certainly hear individual conversations about the offside line taking place rows behind you.
World Cup boost: Key All Blacks on track to return from injury
On top where it counts: Why Hansen and ABs get last laugh
Rattue: Why All Blacks genius Barrett is best I've ever seen
It was only when the All Blacks started to assert real authority and staked a handy lead that the vibe changed from a sort of edgy quiet to something short of raucous celebration.
That's when the realisation hit: New Zealand fans aren't interested in the contest, they're just in it for the confirmation.
They want their fears eased; their collective confidence boosted by the knowledge that the All Blacks remain in the seat of power.
The joy comes not from the sport itself, but the result… as long as the result is the right one.
It makes for a strange sort of atmosphere, with the expectation of victory always getting in the way of the thrill of battle.
So as the crowd filed out of the ground and into cars, bars and buses, the fans were back in their happy place, with All Black primacy once again confirmed and illusions of vulnerability shelved for the time being.
They'd found their voice again.