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Holmes stars as Kangaroos beat Kiwis

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/10/2016 James MacSmith

Test rookie Valentine Holmes has spearheaded the Kangaroos to a 26-6 win over New Zealand at nib Stadium.

Holmes was brilliant on Saturday in his international debut, scoring one try and setting up another in the first rugby league Test in Perth.

The Cronulla winger was one of Australia's best before a record crowd of 20,283, alongside his centre Greg Inglis who scored two tries.

Matt Gillett was great in the middle for the home side, while Martin Taupau was the Kiwis' best in a gutsy, yet clumsy effort.

Australia enjoyed the early ascendancy to lead 8-0 after 15 minutes. Fullback Darius Boyd waltzed past Shaun Kenny-Dowall in the ninth minute after the Kangaroos had worked a set move.

Inglis added to that six minutes later when he collected a Holmes kick that deflected off Jordan Kahu's head and Australia led 8-0.

But the Kiwis fought back well and enjoyed the better of momentum in the second 20 minutes.

Taupau brought plenty of impact off the bench and, when Kevin Proctor broke Johnathan Thurston's tackle close to the line off a Shaun Johnson pass, the visitors trailed by only two points.

From there, defence dominated the game for the Australians to take an 8-6 lead into halftime.

Holmes crossed in the 44th minute when Kenny-Dowall spilt the Steeden and Australia counter-attacked brilliantly.

Holmes still had plenty to do after receiving the last pass from Inglis, but beat three Kiwi defenders to ground the ball and, with Thurston's sideline conversion, the home side led 14-6.

New Zealand managed to stay with Australia through the middle of the second stanza, but poor last-tackle options consistently hurt them.

Inglis' second try, when he chased down a Cameron Smith kick, pushed the Kangaroos out to a 20-6 lead with 12 minutes remaining.

Boyd Cordner's try with two minutes left sealed the home side's win.

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