Greg Inglis has helped Australia to a 30-18 victory over New Zealand tonight (Friday), at Allianz Stadium in front of 25,429 fans - the Rabbitohs fullback bagging a four-pointer to re-take the lead for the green and golds.
If there were any doubts about the credentials of the Kiwis though, they were put to bed early by a Jesse Bromwich four-pointer that came on the back of a string of simple mistakes from the nervous Aussies. Shaun Johnson converted adjacent to the sticks to give the Kiwis an early 6-0 lead.
Twelve minutes in, the Kangaroos finally got their act together after showing great patience - Greg Bird finishing off a slick back line movement to slide over out wide after some quick passing. Johnathan Thurston converted to level it up at six apiece.
Ten minutes later, a brilliant kick-chase from Thurston produced a knock on from the Kiwis, giving a scrum to the Aussies on the 20 metre line. From the scrum, the ball swung out to Brett Morris on the wing, who raced over in the corner virtually untouched for his first of the night. Sharp-shooter Thurston converted to make it 12-6.
Australia's lead was short-lived though with the Kiwis marching back up toward their own line on the back of a penalty. With Kevin Proctor planting the ball over the stripe. Johnson converted to level it up again at 12 apiece.
With 13 minutes left in the first stanza, an Australian mistake on their own line allowed the Kiwis perfect position to back up the Proctor try. Sam Moa didn't disappoint when he steamed onto the ball and scored under the sticks. Johnson added the extras to make it 18-12 in favour of the Kiwis going into the sheds.
On the resumption, both sides traded blows, but it was the Aussies who went in first through Brett Morris, who grabbed his second of the night. Thurston converted the pressure-kick from the touch-line to level it up at 18-18.
The Kangaroos continued to pile on the pressure with some well-orchestrated raids, but the Kiwis held strong. But the black and whites couldn't contain a flying Greg Inglis who crashed over from short range to retake the lead. Thurston converted to make it 24-18 with 16 minutes remaining.
Australia survived yet another attacking raid from the Kiwis with some brilliant defence before backing it up with a runaway try to halfback Cooper Cronkite. Thurston retained his perfect record with the boot to make it 30-18, rounding out the Test match.
Australia 30 (Greg Bird, Brett Morris 2, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, tries; Johnathan Thurston, 5 goals)
New Zealand 18 (Jesse Bromwich, Kevin Proctor, Sam Moa, tries; Shaun Johnson 3 goals)
Australian Women’s All Stars Defeat Indigenous Women’s All Stars
On an historic night when Australia’s most talented men’s and women’s rugby league players shared the stage at Allianz Stadium, it was the Women’s All Stars who shone with a dominant 24-0 display over the Indigenous Women’s All Stars.
With co-captain Ali Brigginshaw leading by example, the Women’s All Stars scored five unanswered tries in the curtain-raiser to the Mid-Season Test between Australia and New Zealand, the first time the Australian women have played a curtain-raiser to a Kangaroos Test.
Brigginshaw scored a brilliant individual try early in the second 25-minute half and scored two goals from five conversion attempts.
“It was overwhelming … surreal,” said Brigginshaw. “To get to play before the men was a big honour.”
Indigenous Women’s All Stars captain Julie Young agreed: “Playing out here before the Test is an unbelievable feeling … amazing. I feel blessed.
“I was really proud of the girls despite the scoreline – they really dug in and never gave up.
“We were up against a side that included a lot of my Jillaroos team-mates from the World Cup winning side so they were world class.”
The Women’s All Stars led 14-0 at the half-time break after three tries in the space of nine minutes.
Second-rower Renae Kunst barged across the line in the eighth minute to open their account, which was converted by Brigginshaw.
Just 3mins later the Women’s All Stars took the score to 10-0 with winger Tegan Chandler making the most of a well-placed bomb by halfback Maddie Studdon.
In the 17th minute they extended their lead to 14-0 with centre Emily Andrews scoring their third and last before the break.
Four minutes after Brigginshaw scored in the second half, centre Karina Brown added another four points scoring from a chip kick by Studdon against an Indigenous Women’s All Stars side that made them work hard for every point.
Women’s All Stars 24 (tries: Renae Kunst, Tegan Chandler, Emily Andrews, Ali Brigginshaw, Karina Brown; goals: Brigginshaw 2)
Indigenous Women’s All Stars 0