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We're getting better despite loss: Kiwis

AAP logoAAP 6/11/2016

New Zealand coach David Kidwell is adamant his team are on an upward curve despite losing 14-8 to Australia in their second Four Nations rugby league Test in Coventry.

Both sides scored two tries and New Zealand - who were outplayed for much of the first half - came close to a third in the dying moments through halfback Shaun Johnson which could have forced a draw.

Kidwell says the performance was better overall than the opening 17-16 win over England and certainly superior to the 26-6 loss to the Kangaroos in Perth a month ago.

However, he says they are capable of better.

"I think we're definitely building and improving," he said.

"We improved from Perth to the England Test. I think we improved again but it's about taking your opportunities.

"At times we didn't do that but towards the end there we started playing some football that we know we can play."

Kidwell said some of New Zealand's first-up contact wasn't strong enough, letting Australia rumble out of their half too easily early in the game.

Some of their ruck defence was also loose but Kidwell praised their ability to scramble when the Kangaroos made half-breaks.

With the Kiwis down 10-0 at the break, centre Solomone Kata barged over before Johnson brilliantly set up a try to winger Jordan Rapana with three minutes remaining.

Johnson crossed himself with 4sec on the clock but was held up over the tryline by fullback Darius Boyd.

It was a third loss to the Kangaroos this year but Kidwell's men may well get a fourth shot in the Four Nations final in Liverpool on November 20.

If, as expected, they beat winless Scotland in Workington on Friday, they will qualify for the final unless England upset Australia in London two days later.

"We're not going to talk about any potential final," Kidwell said.

"Scotland are a very good side and you can't take anyone lightly at this tournament."

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