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Kiwis get clipped - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 21 Apr 2007 06:40:00 GMT

The traditional Anzac Day clash had both sides coming into the game with different strategies, New Zealand starting with four debutants and Australia sticking with the winning Tri-Nations side.

However at the fulltime buzzer, it was the Kangaroos who got it right, beating their trans-Tasman rivals 30-6 at Suncorp Stadium.

The annual Anzac Day clash was on a knife-edge up until the half-time break, Australia only holding a slender 6-0 lead, before five-eighth Darren Lockyer and Fullback Karmichael Hunt took the game by the scruff of the neck and blew their opponents away.

Captain Darren Lockyer said his side had come through a very physical encounter.

"They're always physical, we weathered the storm early but in the end I think they got a little bit tired and with the skill of some of our players, we came home over the top of them," Lockyer said after the game.

Both sides came into this contest with different strategies, Australia sticking with the old and New Zealand calling in the new.

The Kiwis had up to four new debutants starting while Australia stuck with the 2006 Tri Nations winning side, including six Broncos players, despite Brisbane’s poor start to the 2007 season.

And the first half showed little signs on which coach had got his tactics tight.

What was clear, however, was the passion and pride both sets of players had for their jersey.

In defence, the tackles came hard and fast, while in attack, players showed a lot of flair and imagination. However, both sides were also guilty of poor execution.

The only shining light for either side was a try to forward Nathan Hindmarsh midway through the first half.

On the New Zealand 10 metre line, the ball moved from right to left, with a short ball from halfback Jonathan Thurston finding a flying Nathan Hindmarsh who barged his way over the line for a 6-0 lead.

However, in the second half it was a completely different ball game, and a completely different Australia, and it all started just five mins in.

Attacking on New Zealand’s right hand side, Lockyer’s massive bomb was completely misjudged by Kiwis halfback Ben Roberts, who fumbled, allowing Matt King to pick up the pieces and a free run to try line for a 12-0 lead.

Shortly afterward and the Kangaroos stretched the lead to 18 through Brent Tate.

A fine back line passing movement 10 metres out from the New Zealand line saw Darren Lockyer throw a fantastic cut-out pass to Justin Hodges, causing an overlap, with the centre-three quarter attracting the last defender before offloading to Tate.

But the Kiwis were not to die that easily, and for all their persistence, were finally awarded with points 13 minutes from full-time.

Finding themselves attacking close to the Australian 20 metre line, Simon Mannering’s grubber found winger Manu Vatuvei for a try, giving some of the travelling Kiwi supporters some hope of a comeback.

But none was too forthcoming, with the Australians adding two more nails to the coffin just before the full time siren.

The first four-pointer came to Karmichael Hunt when Willie Mason’s dummy run fooled the New Zealand defenders, with Lockyer’s ball going behind the big front rower and to the fullback instead for a 24-6 lead.

And seconds before the full time buzzer, Lockyer grabbed a try of his own when Brent Tate’s bomb fortuitously bounced in his hands just centimetres from the try line.

Straight after the game, Lockyer said the result put too bed any doubts about the players who were selected for the test match.

“We’re pretty much the same team as last year, and I think they deserve to hold their spot, they’ve done nothing wrong in that jersey,” the skipper said.

“Tonight, they were all great.”

Both sets of representative players will now play for their respective clubs in round 6 of the NRL.

AUSTRALIA 30 (N Hindmarsh M King B Tate K Hunt D Lockyer tries; J Thurston 5 goals) NEW ZEALAND 6 (M Vatuvei try; B Marshall goal) Referee: Steve Ganson (Great Britain).Crowd: 35,241 at Suncorp Stadium. GRL Game Grade: 6 balls out of ten. - Read More, Here