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Kiwis resolute in Four Nations opener

NZN 29/10/2016

The Kiwis didn't have to look far for motivation going into their Four Nations rugby league opener against England in Huddersfield, skipper Jesse Bromwich says.

The New Zealanders began their title defence with a narrow 17-16 win at a sold-out John Smith's Stadium, Shaun Johnson's 64th minute field goal proving the difference.

Bromwich said the forwards in particular knew they hadn't performed two weeks ago in folding 26-6 to Australia in Perth.

"We were pretty disappointed with our last game against Australia as a middle unit, and we knew we had to do better," Bromwich said.

"We had a little talk during the week about how good the England forward pack was, and we knew we had a big game ahead of us."

He said the Kiwis took extra motivation from coming up against English players of the calibre of Sam Burgess, James Graham and Chris Hill.

They were severely tested in the opening 20 minutes, but stood strong and England came away with only two Gareth Widdop penalties to show for their efforts.

Bromwich says the memory of that stellar defensive effort will stand them in good stead when they clash with Australia next weekend in Coventry.

"I thought they started the game really well - we gave away a couple of penalties there, and we defended our backsides off," he said.

"The lungs were gone at the start, but we did really well to hang in there.

"I guess we can take a bit of confidence out of that performance. We did it really tough at the start, but we were able to hang in there and grind it out."

Celebrating his first win as coach, David Kidwell paid tribute to the impact his bench players made as well as the hard work put in by his starting 13.

Jordan Rapana crossed twice, with Johnson adding a third as well as slotting the crucial field goal.

Kidwell said it was particularly pleasing to see Johnson making the most of his chances.

"I'm all about players taking the opportunity. He saw one, and it ended up being the winning field goal," Kidwell said.

"I don't go out and tell people what to do - they obviously believe and have confidence in their ability.

"We're growing as a team, and trying to improve each week. I thought we made a big step in improvement from our previous game, and we're looking forward to improving again."

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