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Match Report: Australia vs. New Zealand (Game one)

Australia vs. New Zealand game 2

Matthew Wright
Rugby League Around the Grounds

Australia has defeated New Zealand 20-16 in game one of the three test series in the Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championship.

New Zealand would open the scoring inside the first minute, a wide ball thrown for Michael Kulene who showed incredible pace to break down the right edge, running behind the posts to improve the kick position, the kick converted to make it 6-0.

New Zealand would try the same play again at the next given opportunity, this time Michael Kulene was clawed down and dragged into touch to prevent a guaranteed try.

Australia then went down the other end and forced a drop out, Peter Mitchell going close when he squeezed between two players, though the ball was lost in contact on the last.

New Zealand would immediately launch an attack down the other end of the field, Michael Kulene ran to the right edge, sprinting to within 5 metres of the line before offloading and then receiving the ball back to dive over the line for his second try of the game, the kick converted from touch by Jim Doolen.

Australia would respond after back to back penalties, debutante Rylee Lowe diving over from close range out of dummy half.

The conversion dropped just under the posts and Australia now trailed 12-4.

A penalty for a shoulder charge would put New Zealand within striking distance of the Australian line and the Kiwis through everything at the Roos, but it held firm with some good defence from Lowe, Gleeson and Jobson.

Australia would intecept the ball just 15 metres from the New Zealand line and repeated penalties then put Australia on the New Zealand line for 10 tackles.

Tristan Gibbs took the drive in off the tap and busted the line to score on the verge of the half, the kick missed  and the sides went into the half 12-8 in favour of New Zealand.

Both sides would ramp up the intensity for the second half, crunching tackles and tackles booming runs aplenty as neither of these sides looked to take a backwards step.

A serious injury then brought on a suspension of play for roughly 40 minutes, both sets of players applauding as Kyle Lloyd was taken from the field via ambulance, wishing him a speedy recovery.

Michael Kulene would finish his hat-trick off when New Zealand shipped the ball to the right flank once more from 10 metres out, the ball moved through the hands before finding it’s way back to Kulene.

The conversion missed from out on the right, 16-8 New Zealand.

A penalty for Australia would give them their best chance of the half, a lack of composure would unfortunately bring a break down in play for the Roos as Lowe was pinged for offside.

Gleeson would put Australia firmly back in the contest, going hard and straight at Gilmore and finding a way over the top of him.

Frost converted and set up a grandstand final 3 minutes.

Australia would snatch the win in the last minute of play, an interception tipped on to Daniel Frost who put on the afterburners to speed away from the pursuing New Zealand defenders.

Frost added the extras to make it 20-16, the Australian side hanging on to steal the first test from under the Kiwis noses.

Australia: 20
Tries – Rylee Lowe, Tristan Gibbs, Mitch Gleeson, Daniel Frost
Goals – Daniel Frost (2)

New Zealand: 16
Tries – Michael Kulene (3)
Goals – Jim Doolen (2)

Team Lists:

Australia New Zealand
Kyle Lloyd Che Fornusek (c)
George Tonna Phil Milne
Daniel Frost James Doolan
Jono Smith Paul Mulipola
Dylan Jobson Michael Kulene
Marco Quintao Jr. Josh Hyed
Mitch Gleeson Uturei Toparea
Ed Sharp Garry Kingi
Rylee Lowe Ben Tuimaseve
Tristan Gibbs Jason Gilmour
Bill Bussell Matthew Williams
Joe Egan Interchange Bruce Cross
Peter Mitchell Interchange Gary Endacott (vc)
Joel Pragnell Interchange Tim Ragg
Todd Dorward Interchange Jeremy Harris
Ed Jobson Interchange Josh Dench
Steve Cremond Interchange Freeman Hickey
Drew Gibbs Interchange Junior Leaupepe