Australia escaped with a narrow 18-10 win at Dairy Farmers Stadium last October after a grinding affair highlighted by the brilliant performances of front-row duo Matthew Scott and James Tamou.
Scott was named the official man of the match after clocking 184 metres while Tamou was players’ player, having overcome the controversy over his decision earlier in the year to choose Australia over New Zealand to score a spectacular first-half try.
But it didn’t come easy, with the Kiwis rocketing out of the gates with a clever try to Issac Luke in the sixth minute. It didn’t take long for Australia to hit back with captain Cameron Smith matching the efforts of his opposite number before Tamou gave Australia the lead with a bust and sidestep that would have made Justin Hodges proud.
Ahead 10-6, it looked as if the Kangaroos were about to break the game wide open – until the Kiwis put up a speculative bomb in the 38th minute which fell into the hands of Sam Perrett. The Canterbury winger then offloaded to Dean Whare who sent Gerard Beale on his way to make it 10-all at the break.
The second half was a brutal affair, with both sides defending their lines valiantly, prompting Johnathan Thurston to take the option of a penalty goal after 62 minutes for the Kangaroos to edge back ahead 12-10. Darius Boyd then sealed victory for the home side with a stunning long-range effort from a superb Paul Gallen pass to make it 18-10 with nine minutes remaining.
The scoreline didn’t accurately reflect the dominance of Australia, who ran for 1523 metres to just 1119 and completed 78 per cent of their sets to New Zealand’s 65 per cent.
Besides Scott and Tamou, Gallen impressed for the Kangaroos with 173 metres and 35 tackles, while Luke made a game-high 46 tackles for New Zealand.