Aussies reign supreme - ANZAC Test review
A 24-0 lead at half time, which blew out to 30 just five minutes into the second half, was too big a mountain to climb for the Kiwis as the Kangaroos went on to win the ANZAC Test by 30-12 in Canberra tonight.
The Kiwis did respond somewhat in the second half, however Australia was never going to relinquish such a big lead with the class and experience in their side.
Sharks Valentine Holmes and Andrew Fifita turned out for the Kangaroos, justifying their inclusion with solid performances.
What were the key points coming from the Australian win, while we also take a more in depth look at the impact the two Sharks had on the match.
A first half play the ball error was the only blemish in an otherwise strong performance from Holmes.
The Sharks fullback, playing on the left wing for the Kangaroos, caught the kicks directed his way, ran the ball strongly, held his own against the dangerous Jordan Rapana and was busy throughout.
His numbers were impressive as well, amassing 153 metres on 13 carries.
Played through the first 23 minutes then returned to the game in the 49th minute and was on the field for the remainder of the match.
Was effective with the football running for over 100 metres, made 37 tackles and was a presence in the middle of the field.
More than justified his recall into the Australian squad.
Five key points
1. Defense wins big matches
Despite the fact Australia scored five tries in their win it was largely made possible by a stellar defensive effort against a Kiwi team with numerous attacking weapons.
In the first half alone the Kiwis had 23 attacking play the balls in the Aussie defensive quarter, but they failed to register any points.
Man of the match Matt Gillett and back row partner Boyd Cordner were outstanding on the edges, Cameron Smith mopped up anything that came his way in the middle and Andrew Fifita made 37 tackles in 55 minutes of game time.
The Aussie scramble defense was just too good for the Kiwis.
2. The Origin series is set to be ‘epic’
Smith, Cronk, Thurston, Gillett and Boyd were outstanding, as were Dugan, Fifita, Klemmer, Ferguson and Cordner, meaning State of Origin promises to be another epic series in 2017.
The Queensland spine is the best in the business, but NSW have talented big men and some exciting outside backs with the ability to make it interesting.
Pull up a chair, get comfortable and get ready to enjoy what will another enthralling Origin series
3. Sharks completion rate still needs work
Both Sharks were strong in the Kangaroo win however a couple of first half errors were unfortunately somewhat typical of recent club performances.
Val made a play the ball error, Andrew dropped a simple pass on a kick off return in making two of just three Australian errors in the opening period.
Then late in the match both had difficult chances off kicks to score tries for their team but they couldn’t quite get the ball down.
The Sharks are winning despite having some handling issues, but are working hard every day at rectifying the problem.
4. Kiwis still without the winning formula
The second half was better, but after the early Kangaroos onslaught the Kiwis were quickly doomed to again finish second in the Anzac Test.
The ledger now stands at 17 wins for Australia from their last 18 mid year matches and there were no excuses in regards to the quality of their team, with New Zealand close to full strength.
They go better in tournaments and end of year tours once they’ve had a chance to gel and will be happy in the knowledge there will be no mid season game against the Australians next year.
5. It was a big day for the Aussies
While the main event saw the Kangaroos score a 30-12 victory, the two curtain raisers also went the way of the Australians.
In the Junior Roos v Junior Kiwis match the young Aussies raced out to a 30-0 half time lead before going on with the job in registering a 46-22 triumph.
Shark Jesse Ramien was on the winning side, while his club mate Briton Nikora scored a try for the Kiwis.
Then it was the girls turn, with Jillaroos, led by Captain Ruan Sims, ending the New Zealand dominance with a 16-4 victory over the Silver Ferns.
It was a big day for the Australians and an ordinary one for the Kiwis.
Jake Trbojevic, Blake Ferguson, Will Chambers, Tyson Frizell, Josh Dugan tries, Jonathan Thurston 5 goals
NEW ZEALAND 12
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Simon Mannering tries, Jordan Kahu 2 goals