Luke’s Kiwis Trump Kangaroos
Issac Luke’s New Zealand side has emerged victorious in this evening’s rescheduled ANZAC Test at Suncorp Stadium – running out 26-12 victors over Greg Inglis and Alex Johnston’s Australian team.
After Suncorp Stadium was battered by torrential rain, thunder and lightning on Friday night resulting in the first ever rescheduling of a Test match, the Kangaroos were unable to get on top of the Kiwis as veteran winger, Manu Vatuvei led the way by running in two tries.
Alex Johnston made a positive first foray into Test football by being solid under the high ball and marking up well against the Kiwi outside backs.
Two penalties in quick succession to the Kiwis put the visitors within kicking distance, and Shaun Johnson took the opportunity to put his team two points in front inside the first eight minutes of play.
But while the Kiwis played conservative football, the Kangaroos rolled the dice when they attacked the New Zealand line mere moments later, coming up with a barnstorming try to Sam Thaiday – the Bronco overpowering the black and white defence to score. Johnathan Thurston converted from close range to make it 6-2 in favour of the Aussies.
Manu Vatuvei responded for the Kiwis when he got outside Kangaroos winger Josh Dugan to claim his sides first four-pointer of the match just inside touch. Johnson’s conversion attempt was waved away, leaving the score locked up at six apiece. But Vatuvei wasn’t done.
Despite a positive period of attack from the Kangaroos, it was Vatuvei who would ultimately cross next for his second of the afternoon – the try coming after a reversed decision at the other end of the field to award the Kiwis possession after Australia knocked the ball dead. Johnson converted to make it 12-6 before the five-eighth crossed for a converted try of his own in the 33rd minute.
Just before the break, another penalty to New Zealand allowed Johnson a further opportunity to bag another two points, but the Kangaroos’ woes weren’t over.
Jason Nightingale kicked into the in-goal from 40 metres out forcing a chase between Greg Inglis and Shaun Kenny-Dowall. As Inglis shepherded the ball dead, the Kangaroos fullback attempted to bat the ball out but the bounce of the ball saw Inglis swing and miss with Kenny-Dowall pouncing to score. Johnson added the extras to make the score at half-time 26-6.
After a largely barren opening to the second half that saw the Kangaroos repelled on many occasions, Will Chambers finally responded for Australia with a four pointer on debut. Thurston converted from out wide to make it 26-12 20 minutes from full-time – rounding out the only Test between the two teams for 2015.
New Zealand 26 (Manu Vatuvei 2, Shaun Johnson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, tries; Shaun Johnson 5 goals)
Australia 12 (Sam Thaiday, Will Chambers, tries; Johnathan Thurston 2 goals)