Kiwi Four Nations Fail: ‘That isn’t a try a powerhouse of rugby league gives up’November 21, 2016
BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Australia have won the Four Nations tournament after outplaying old foes New Zealand 34-8 at Liverpool’s Anfield in England while also reclaiming the world’s number one ranking.
It ends a disastrous 2016 for the Kiwis who were beaten four times throughout the year by the Kangaroos and only last week David Kidwell’s underperforming squad had an unlikely 18-all draw with minnows Scotland.
The writing was on the wall after just two minutes when New Zealand lost the ball on their own line and gave up the softest of tries from the ensuing scrum with Blake Ferguson scoring in the corner untouched after some crisp hands from eventual Man of the Match Darius Boyd.
Boyd was back at it in the 15th minute setting up Josh Dugan moments after the Kiwis had made a long break down field only to see Shaun Johnson force a pass into the waiting hands of the Kangaroos who streaked away.
New Zealand needed to score next but it was again Australia with Johnathan Thurston kicking a penalty goal to give the green and gold a 14 point lead.
Trent Merrin and Dugan scored two more tries for Australia before half-time ensuring the Four Nations trophy would be headed back down under for the first since 2011.
Brisbane Bronco Jordan Kahu grabbed a double for the Kiwis in the second half but it was all too late.
Boyd Cordner charged over for Australia late in the game to add the cherry on top for new coach Mal Meninga who loved what he saw from his players.
“It feels pretty good,” Meninga said post-match.
“I’m extremely happy for the players. The effort they put in and the effort throughout the whole campaign. The ownership we are trying to achieve.
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“I thought we developed our performances really well to build up to what was a great performance. Sitting back and watching these guys was a real pleasure.
“Internally you don’t talk about wanting to be No.1. It’s nice to be back No.1.”
Ferguson ran for 180 metres and made four tackle busts to go with his early try while bench prop David Klemmer was the best of the forwards racking up 170 metres.
Kiwi coach David Kidwell was disappointed after yet another lacklustre performance.
“It was our errors that cost us in the first half,” Kidwell said.
“We needed to get back into a decent completion rate. We completed below 50 per cent. To do that in any game of football, let alone in a final, let alone against a team like Australia is going to be tough.
“They got out to a lead that was un-catchable. For the next half we needed to try and get back into the game.
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“The tour in general I thought we were very strong. Our performance tonight magnifies it.
“We have some disappointed people in our whole group. We have to make sure the next Test we play we don’t put out a performance again.
“We need to look at ourselves as a whole group.”
The try within two minutes will have experts across the ditch very worried. That isn’t a try a powerhouse nation gives up in a tournament final. It was soft and Kidwell has a mountain of work to do ahead of the World Cup next year.
Australia 34 (Josh Dugan 2, Blake Ferguson, Trent Merrin, Darius Boyd, Boyd Cordner tries; Johnathan Thurston 5 goals) defeated New Zealand 8 (Jordan Kahu 2 tries) at Anfield, Liverpool. Crowd: 40,042.