Kiwis stave off late Kangaroos rally for ‘surreal win

Simply sublime skills from Chanel Harris-Tevita. Pic NRLMore

"The boys did an fantastic job", Kiwis first-time captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak said.

"It was always going to be tough playing the Kiwis at home", Australia captain Boyd Cordner said.

This is Kiwis coach Michael Maguire's first test and win with the New Zealand side and says the supporters played a pivotal part in the test-match win.

"A lot of young kids, unfortunately, at some stage make a mistake and those two boys have definitely put their hands up and turned a bit of adversity into strength and where we want to be".

"I love the attitude; I loved the way they kept hanging in; I loved the way we almost won the footy game", Meninga said.

"Moving forward to the Tongan game we've got to make sure we complete nice and high".

The Australians scored an early try to Valentine Holmes, but they suffered a blow when they lost halfback Luke Keary on 17 minutes. "We didn't give ourselves much chance but we stuck to it and it was a tight finish".

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The Australians scored two late tries through Felise Kaufusi and James Tedesco for a tense final two minutes however the scoreline belied the Kiwis' dominance.

Maumalo made amends 10 minutes later when he crossed out wide after prop Martin Taupau delivered his second offload in as many minutes having come off the interchange bench and captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak passed the ball through his legs.

Manu did give his side an 8-6 lead when he produced a powerful fend to run over Mitchell in the 35th minute.

Watene-Zelezniak appeared to have put his team ahead just before half-time when he pounced on a kick from Manu to score but review officials ruled that the Sydney Roosters centre had knocked on before he kicked.

The frustration of the Kiwis was compounded when Gagai scored a long range try after halfback Daly Cherry-Evans sent centre Tom Trbojevic racing down the touchline with just seconds remaining on the clock.

However, the Kiwis surged into a 26-12 lead with tries from Brandon Smith, Esan Marsters and Jordan Rapana, before a late charge from Australia.

The world champions will now be desperate to turn it around against rising Tonga at Mt Smart on Saturday. Last night's win was the Kiwis first over Australia since the 2015 Anzac Test...

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