Kiwis upset Meninga's new-look Australian side

Doug Mendoza
October 16, 2018

JOSEPH Manu has continued his stellar NRL form into the worldwide arena, starring for New Zealand on debut in his team's shock win over Australia.

Kiwis celebrate a try.

Only their first win against Australian since 2015, the match provides a strong platform to build upon when the side travel north to meet England over the coming weeks. "That alone, I haven't had since I've been in this group", the 26-Test veteran said. "Just hold the ball, go set for set".

Johnson said Australian Maguire's preparation and belief in his players opened the eyes of long-standing members of the team.

"Everyone talks about the game, but the game for us started last Sunday when we got into camp and preparing each training session, winning everything, it turned out tonight to be really good for us".

Saturday's game was their first back in Kiwis colours and coach Maguire said their ability to come back from a low point in their careers was representative of the character he wanted in his team.

"The boys have spoken about what sort of team they want to be so the fans do come on the ride with us".

"I can't really put it into words, we just came together".

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"I hate losing to be honest with you, I think we all do", Meninga said.

Australia hit the front in the second minute with a well taken try by Valentine Holmes and regained the lead 12-8 on the stroke of half-time with a try to Dane Gagai, a late addition to the Kangaroos squad.

The loss of Keary in the 17th minute was a blow for Australia but Meninga was able to call St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hunt off the bench.

New Zealand trailed 12-8 at the break despite dominating possession and territory in the opening period.

Valentine Holmes and Lattrell Mitchell were a unsafe attacking combination down the left-hand side and they created Australia's first try, to Holmes, after only two minutes.

Hooker Brandon Smith put New Zealand ahead for the first time when he crashed his way over in the 54th minute and Johnson converted from close range.

The coach had special praise for Smith and Manu, who both scored on debut while the latter set up the match-sealing try with an incredible one-handed offload to Jordan Rapana.

The North Queensland playmaker had a hand in most of the Australian under-20s' best moments to earn man-of-the-match honours in the seven-tries-to-five victory on Saturday.

Other reports by GizPress

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