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1. Peta Hiku –Responded to everything the Kangaroos threw at him. Overcame a huge shot in the first half from Australian prop David Klemmer and kept the ball rolling for New Zealand by assisting in Vatuvei's second try. 6.5

2. Jason Nightingale – Tried his best to help New Zealand out of trouble and came up with a few clutch plays in the first half after scoring the Kiwis first try and producing a try-saving ankle tap on opposition winger Josh Mansour early on in proceedings. Earned a try and produced a classy kick for a repeat set. 7.5

3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall – Slipped up a couple of times in defence against Dylan Walker but held his own. His first-half line break sparked the Kiwis into scoring their first try. Constantly threatened with the ball and was the best centre on the field with 175 metres to his name. 7

4. Dean Whare – Quiet through little fault of his own with the Kiwis failing to get the ball out to him. The centre showed his poise though by throwing the last pass for Nightingale's try but also came up with several uncharacteristic errors. 5

5. Manu Vatuvei – Overcame one or two characteristic brain snaps by demonstrating his experience against rookie Kangaroos winger Sione Mata'utia. 'The Beast' packed in plenty of bullocking runs, two tries to surpass Nigel Vagana's record for most tries scored by a Kiwi and a double century of metres. 8

6. Kieran Foran – Proved a solid foil for halfback Shaun Johnson to work off. Steadied the Kiwi ship on more than one occasion and backed it up with a good defensive game despite once getting caught out by Cherry-Evans in the lead up to the Kangaroos' second try. 8

7. Shaun Johnson – Scored a crucial try with an amazing 37-metre solo effort midway through the second half and set up another to lead the Kiwis to victory. Kept the opposition defence guessing all night long with both his running and kicking game and deservingly won Man of the Match honours. 9.5

8. Jesse Bromwich – Signalled his intentions early with two big runs in the first set of the game and was dominant thereafter. The Kiwis' premier prop continued to make inroads in the Australian defence all game, producing 163 metres and 29 tackles. 8.5

9. Issac Luke – Lifted in the absence of Thomas Leuluai and was ever present in the middle of the park by constantly troubling the Australian markers. Luke made a crucial try save on Corey Parker in the fifth minute and stuck solid in defence. 7

10. Adam Blair –Had little impact in attack after only making 15 metres in the first half before adding only a further 33 metres in the second 40. Made up for those shortcomings with 21 tackles but missed five and conceded two penalties. 4.5

11. Kevin Proctor – The back-rower was strong in defence with 33 tackles but had little involvement with the ball – his seven possessions was the fewest of any New Zealander. 6

12. Simon Mannering – The captain was absolutely everywhere and provided plenty of headaches for Australia. The Kiwis inspirational leader topped the tackle count for his country with 37 and made over 100 metres. 8.5

13. Jason Taumalolo – Tried his best in the middle of the pack with some solid runs and troubled the Aussies in the second half. Only lasted 17 minutes in his first spell on the field but made a bigger impact in his second crack. 6.5


14. Lewis Brown – Didn't do anything amazing out of position in dummy-half and conceded a penalty early in the second stanza, but was solid in his limited time on field with six runs and 19 tackles. 5

15. Greg Eastwood – Made an immediate impact upon entering the field. Didn't miss a tackle and made over 100 metres through his sheer power up the middle. 8

16. Martin Taupau – Made a profound impact off the bench. Racked up 100 metres after replacing Blair with a series of inspirational runs that bent back the Aussie line. Taupau was a huge reason the Kiwis gained the lead but was unfortunately stretchered off with a possible neck injury early in the second half. 8.5

17. Tohu Harris – Offered plenty more than some starting players despite conceding two penalties. The young back-rower still managed to stick solid in the middle though with 112 metres and 33 tackles for zero misses. 8
Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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