Samoa v New Zealand: Five key points
New Zealand ran riot in the second half to down Samoa 38-8 in the opening Pool B match at the Rugby League World Cup. Here are the five key discussion points from Saturday night's match in Auckland.
Kiwis get bite from bench
New Zealand got great value from their inexperienced interchange against Samoa, with their impact helping to wrestle momentum their way when the game was in the balance either side of half-time.
Melbourne Storm giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona was the pick of the bunch, averaging 10 metres on his 18 carries and scoring a try in the second half.
Isaac Liu was another to go past the 100-metre mark in yardage, also scoring a try, while Danny Levi played 50 minutes and looked right at home in his Test debut.
Samoa stumble through second half
After footing it with the Kiwis for the first 40 minutes, Samoa appeared to run out of puff when they came back from the sheds at half-time.
Before the second period was even 15 minutes old Samoa had leaked three tries and allowed New Zealand to assume complete control of the contest.
After making just five errors through the first half, Samoa coughed up 11 in the second period, which contributed to New Zealand having 24 sets with the ball compared to their 15 in the second half.
Captain Frank Pritchard lamented the collapse, after his side had trailed by just six at the break.
"The second half was pretty disappointing, we came in at 10-4 and we were still in the fight, but that last 40 minutes, we have to look at that."
Toast to Tapine
An 80-minute effort from Joseph Tapine was a feature for the Kiwis, with the towering Canberra Raiders back-rower one of New Zealand's best.
Defensively he was strong, holding his edge together well on his way to 35 tackles with only one miss, while Tapine's physical carries also sucked plenty of life out of the Samoan defensive line.
Post-match, assistant coach Brian Smith praised the 23-year-old's performance.
"He was tremendous and had a lot of quality."
Youngsters a shining light for Samoa
While veteran players were the biggest names on their team sheet for week one, it was Samoa's newest faces who stood out at Mount Smart Stadium.
Twenty-two-year-old hooker Jazz Tevaga put in a huge shift, clocking 47 tackles in his hour on the field, while his solid service through the first half helped his forwards to maintain parity with the Kiwis.
Off the bench Bunty Afoa got through 43 tackles to go with 86 run metres, while Herman Ese'ese was Samoa's only interchange man to go for over 100 metres.
"I thought those guys knew their roles and came on for the team when times were tough," Pritchard said.
"Bunty and Jazz brought plenty of energy."
Beale's tournament likely over
Experienced centre Gerard Beale's World Cup appears to be over after he suffered a suspected broken ankle on the hour mark.
Beale hit the ground away from any contact and immediately signalled to the bench and was taken straight to hospital.
Play was stopped for close to 10 minutes while the new Warriors signing was taken from the field, and post-match coach David Kidwell said he was unsure who he would draft into his squad should Beale become unavailable.
"It's all pretty raw at the moment, we will definitely sit down with the medical team and look at who we can replace him with," Kidwell said.
"We have got to make sure the person we bring in is going to be the right fit."