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Dugan injury sours Roos' win over Kiwis

NZN 5/05/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Australia have sounded a pre-World Cup warning to rival nations with a comprehensive 30-12 defeat of New Zealand in the final Anzac Test on Friday night.

However the win - on a night skipper Cameron Smith celebrated his 50th Test - was soured by a possible fractured cheekbone to Josh Dugan that could rule him out of State of Origin.

The St George Illawarra star came from the GIO Stadium field midway through the second half after clashing heads with Kiwis prop and clubmate Russell Packer and failed to return.

His injury was the only low point on a dominant night for the world No.1 nation, who raced to a 30-0 lead before taking their foot off the pedal and allowing the Kiwis two consolation tries.

Almost one year after breaking a three-game losing streak against the Kiwis in Newcastle, a crowd of 18,535 watched the home side make it five straight wins against the world No.2.

Johnathan Thurston showed no lingering effects of a calf issue by setting up two tries, while Blake Ferguson continued his Four Nations form with a game-high 214 metres.

Second-rower Matt Gillett, who topped the game's tackle count with 46, claimed the Charles Savory medal as the man-of-the-match in a robust defensive performance.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga hailed his team's defensive first-half effort.

"First half was fantastic, we had to defend six in a row I think it was, so the team was really resilient. Then on the back of that we scored some points," he said.

Smith, who joined Darren Lockyer as the only player to reach the half-century mark, felt the team had been heavily motivated by his milestone match.

"I knew starting last night in that (jersey) presentation that they wanted to make tonight special for me. But that's what our team's about," he said.

Up 24-0 at the break, the Kangaroos appeared on their way to a record victory when Jake Trbojevic took a no-look pass from Cooper Cronk soon after resumption.

But the Dugan exit coincided with a mini fightback from the visitors, who scored the final two tries through Simon Mannering and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but eventually fell short.

Dugan opened the scoring in spectacular fashion when he soared to take Thurston's cross-field kick, and Ferguson doubled the advantage with a 90-metre intercept soon after.

The visitors twice had opportunities to steal momentum, but Tuivasa-Sheck was held up over the line and Shaun Johnson's bat-on was ruled forward in the same set.

The failures opened the floodgates in defence, with Will Chambers scooting through untouched on Sam Thaiday's 30-metre break, and Tyson Frizell completing the four-try halftime lead.

Kiwis coach David Kidwell was proud of the second-half effort but bemoaned a poor kicking game in the first half that prevented any chance to place any pressure on the opposition.

At least four times their fifth-tackle kick went dead.

"We spoke about our kick finishes at halftime, and to Shaun and Kieran's credit they fixed those up. Those kicks, if they landed in the in-goal, maybe the scoreline's a bit different," he said.

"But looking at the last 30 minutes, there's something to build on."

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