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The Kangaroos have flexed their pre-World Cup muscle with a strong performance in Canberra tonight, victorious 30-12 over arch-rivals New Zealand.
It was one way traffic from early on, with Australia opening their account twelve minutes in through Josh Dugan. This was compounded five minutes later when Blake Ferguson cut short a Kiwi attacking raid with a handy intercept - and despite the pace of Roger Tuivasa Sheck coming across, scored a long-range try to push the hosts out to 12-0 early.
A run of penalties to the Kiwis in the ten minutes following the Ferguson try yielded no result for the visitors, with the Aussies combining through Sam Thaiday to produce a try for Will Chambers. Johnathan Thurston continued his perfect record with the boot and with the scoreline reading 18-0 inside the half-hour mark, signs were ominous for the New Zealanders.
Thurston helped his side add to the scoreboard once more before the halftime break, a clever kick which bounced off the goalpost pads and was pounced on by Tyson Frizell, who became the second Dragons representative from the Aussies to claim a four-pointer. The subsequent conversion meant the home team took a 24-0 lead into the halftime break.
The scoring jets cooled for the Kangaroos after the break, with only Manly prop Jake Trbojevic chalking one up in the second forty. Australia held onto a 30-0 lead from the 45th minute until the Kiwis finally cracked their line in the 56th, when Simon Mannering's lumbering frame restored some pride for New Zealand.
Another nine minutes later the Kiwis were able to double their score with Tuivasa Sheck grabbing a four-pointer from himself. Jordan Kahu nailed the conversion as he had for Mannering's try to reduce the margin to a more respectable 18 points. While Australia pushed hard and almost had another try through Valentine Holmes in the final minute, they were denied and the match finished at 30-12.
The win will provide plenty of confidence for the green and gold heading into the World Cup later this year, and seems an apt way for Kangaroos' captain Cameron Smith to celebrate his 50th test match. The Kiwis will go back to the drawing board with lots to work on before they take on Samoa, Scotland and Tonga in Pool B. Australia will face England, France and Lebanon in Pool A.
The Rugby League World Cup kicks off on October 27. Check out the full draw here.
Earlier, the Australian Jillaroos womens team accounted for the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns by 16-4, while the Junior Kangaroos dominated the Junior Kiwis 46-22 in the opening match of tonight's triple header.
AUSTRALIA WOMEN (16) - Tries: Isabelle Kelly, Zahara Temara, Renae Kunst; Conversions: Caitlin Moran (2/3)
NEW ZEALAND WOMEN (4) - Tries: Atawhai Tupaea
Australia 30 - New Zealand 12
Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra
Halftime Score: Australia 24 New Zealand 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Blake Ferguson
2 points - Matt Gillett
1 points - Josh Dugan
Tries: Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Will Chambers, Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (5/5)
NEW ZEALAND (12)
Tries: Simon Mannering, Roger Tuivasa-sheck
Conversions: Jordan Kahu (2/2)