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Kiwis count cost of error-ridden start

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Coach David Kidwell says the Kiwis paid the price for a disastrous start in their Four Nations rugby league final as Australia cruised to a six-try 34-8 win.</span> © Gareth Copley/Getty Images Coach David Kidwell says the Kiwis paid the price for a disastrous start in their Four Nations rugby league final as Australia cruised to a six-try 34-8 win. Coach David Kidwell says a disastrous start left the Kiwis with too much ground to make up as a rampant Australia cruised to a crushing 34-8 Four Nations win at Anfield.

Mal Meninga's team ran in six tries and returned to the top of the world rugby league rankings after over-running a disappointing Kiwis side, who meekly surrendered the title they won in 2014.

Kidwell conceded his team had left themselves with too much to do after making too many mistakes in the first quarter.

"We made seven errors in the first 20 minutes and that cost us," he said.

"We ended up completing at 50 per cent, and if you do that in any game, let alone in a final and against a team like Australia, it's going to be tough. They got out to a lead that was uncatchable."

The Kiwis had limped into the final after beating England by a solitary point in their opening game and being held to an 18-18 draw by minnows Scotland.

Kidwell, who is just two months into the job, admits he has some work to do to get them back to world No.1.

"We need to look at ourselves as a whole group," he said.

"It's my first tour and I've definitely learned a lot. We've got to get back our belief and that's starts with hard work.

"We've got some disappointed people in our group. We've just got to make sure in our next game we don't put in a performance like that.

"Australia are strong all over the park. If you look through their team, their spine contains possibly two or three immortals. Their big men carried the ball well for them, but their spine is their strength."

Kidwell defended his decision to play second row forward Tohu Harris at stand-off ahead of youngster Te Maire Martin in place of the injured Thomas Leuluai.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing," he said. "At the end of the day, he had been training there really well.

"It was tough decision out of two but we decided to go with some experience."

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