You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kangaroos hold off fast-finishing Kiwis

NZN 5/11/2016 Ian McCullough

Australia have all but secured their spot in the Four Nations final after beating a fast-finishing New Zealand 14-8 at Coventry's Ricoh Arena.

The Kangaroos were simply irresistible at times in the opening 30 minutes and their 10-0 lead at halftime, thanks to tries from Blake Ferguson and Johnathan Thurston was not a fair reflection of their dominance.

However, the Kiwis were much improved after the break, holding the Kangaroos to a pair of Johnathan Thurston penalties in the second stanza and scoring two tries through Solomone Kata and Jordan Rapana but were unable to pull off a grandstand finish.

Ferguson opened the scoring after five minutes, putting the finishing touches to a sweeping move by hauling in a superb pass from Michael Morgan.

Morgan and Ferguson were also involved in the Kangaroos' second four-pointer with Johnathan Thurston barging through two Kiwi tackles to cross four minutes later and then convert his own try.

Greg Inglis, who earlier produced a bone-jarring tackle on Rapana then tormented the winger further by preventing a certain try with an ankle tap after he'd intercepted a Darius Boyd pass

Justin O'Neill went close to extending Australia's advantage, only to be denied by the desperate New Zealand defence with Adam Blair holding up his former Melbourne teammate.

Kata dived over nine minutes after the restart but Johnson failed to convert with Thurston punishing some ill-discipline from the Kiwis by drilling home two penalties.

Some magic from Johnson set Rapana up for a late four-pointer, with the halfback gathering his own kick and spreading the ball wide for the Canberra winger to score.

Johnson thought he had scored in the final seconds, but the video referee rightly adjudged that he had not grounded the ball.

There could also be some injury concerns for the Kangaroos with Thurston looking to have picked up a knee injury after running into Jordan Kahu five minutes from time.

Meninga said the performance was more impressive than the win in Perth last month but gave credit to the tenacity of the Kiwis.

"We were fairly dominant but couldn't put them away," Meninga said.

"They kept coming up with special efforts fair play to them.

"It was a bit scary at the end but we did enough to put them away.

"It was better than Perth, it was better executed and defensively we were good for most of the game."

Meninga also confirmed that Thurston should be fit to face England next week.

"He's a bit sore, a bit weary, but he'll be right for next week," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon