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Tri-Nations Game 2 Australia 28 v New Zealand 26 Match summary: Horrid conditions at Ericsson Stadium didn't seem to affect the players on show tonight as both sides turned it on for the many fans that turned up for the 2nd game in the Tri-Series, with the Kangaroos taking the spoils in a close fought battle by 28-26.
The old clich?, a game of two halves, was in evidence tonight as the Kiwis, and in particular their tough defence, took control of the first half going into the break with a healthy 16-8 lead.
Words said in the Kangaroo dressing room obviously had an impact as in the space of 10 minutes, 3 quick tries completely turned the game around. The Australians passes stuck compared to last week, and the rest as they say is history.
The Kiwis tried to claw their way back into the match but time was not on their side. The final score of 28-26 a true indication of just how great this battle was despite the weather conditions.
Stand out players for the Kangaroos were Cooper and Lockyer, and Kennedy and the damage O'Meley did while on the field, a definite bonus for his side. Paleaasina in his debut game for the Kiwis, devastating in his time on the field. Wiki equalling the Kiwi record for the most test caps of 46, along with Rauhihi caused mayhem in defence as did Kidwell.
If this sort of game gives us a taste of what the Tri-Series has in store, then fasten your seatbelts!
Scorers: NEW ZEALAND KIWIS 26 es: Webster 2, Vagana, Tony, Faiumu Goals: Jones 3/6
AUSTRALIA KANGAROOS 28 es: Lockyer 2, Cooper 2, Gasnier, Minichiello Goals: Fitzgibbon 2/5, Johns 0/1
Ericsson Stadium Referee: Steve Ganson Half time: 16-8 Kiwis
Live commentary: Wet and soggy conditions at Ericsson for the second game in the Tri-Series. A good crowd considering the terrible conditions. Both sides as per programme. A rousing response to the traditional Kiwi haka by the Ericsson Stadium supporters as the Kiwi chant goes around the stands.
0 min: Ganson blows the whistle and the game is underway in the slippery conditions
2nd min: NEWS - Both first up sets solid by both sides, the defence muscling up but ball control is good
4th min: NEWS - First penalty of the match to the Kiwis bringing play to their 20 metre mark, resulting in a line dropout for the Kiwis
10th min: NEWS - Johns kicks early in the tackle into the in-goal. It looks to have come off Webb's shin resulting in a line dropout for the Kangaroos. The video refs intervene, the end result a 20 metre restart to the Kiwis. No score in the game so far
12th min: TRY - KANGAROOS Lockyer nabs the 1st points of the match. A high bomb by Johns is not read well by the Kiwis. Lockyer grabs in then quick hands 10 metres out from the line and Lockyer scores. Fitzgibbon misses the conversion. Kangaroos 4-0
14th min: TRY - KIWIS A picture perfect kick-off by Motu Tony hands possession to the Kiwis on the halfway mark as the ball bounces just before the dead ball line and is left to go out by the Kangaroos. A break by Vagana backed up by quick hands and a basketball pass by Jones out to Webster on the wing who scores in the corner. Jones misses the conversion. 4-4
18th min: NEWS - The Kiwis have their backs up as the defence is in the face of the Australians. A 100% completion record so far for the home side, outstanding considering the slippery conditions
23rd min: NEWS - Johns limping in back play
25th min: NEWS - Once again the Kiwi numbers in defence are there as the Kangaroos are forced back into the in-goal for another line dropout for the Kiwis. Score still locked at 4 a-piece
27th min: TRY - KIWIS Following on from the line dropout, some busting runs in particular by Kiwi debutant, Paleaasinsa, is finished off with Vagana over in the corner, as deemed by the video refs. Another tough kick for Jones, who misses. Vagana now equals Hoppe's record for the most tries scored by a Kiwi. Kiwis lead 8-4
29th min: NEWS - Johns seems to have made a soft kick-off to have players by both sides fumbling and bumbling their way to the dead ball line. Resulting play courtesy of the video refs, a penalty to the Kiwis for offside play
31st min: PENALTY GOAL - KIWIS Offside play by the Kangaroos following a bomb by Jones and the result, an easy kick for the 2 point penalty. Barrett replaces Buderus as hooker for the Kangaroos. Kiwis 10-4
35th min: TRY - KANGAROOS Back to back penalties allows the Kangaroos some much needed field possession which they capitalise on when Vatuvei knocks on after a high kick by Johns. The following set has Cooper over the line on the other side of the field. Fitzgibbon from the sideline, falls short with the kick. Kiwis 10-8
39th min: TRY - KIWIS Just before the break the Kiwis hit back. A 40 metres break by Webb is backed up nicely with Tony over for the try. Jones nails the first conversion of the night. Kiwis 16-8
Halftime: The Kiwi defence the difference in the game so far, at time brutal. Outstanding play by both the sides considering the conditions, but I think at this stage the Kiwi fans don't care. Their team leads 16-8 at the break.
Second half underway...
44th min: TRY - KANGAROOS The Kangaroos hit back early in the second half using their backs. Hape missing the tackle on Gasnier and he makes him pay running a quick 50 metres to score, bouncing Webb off him as he scores. Fitzgibbon still with no points from his boot tonight, misses the conversion. Kiwis 16-12
47th min: TRY - KANGAROOS The Australians have stepped up a notch with their offloads killing the Kiwis. The hole opens up and Lockyer burst through to score. Fitzgibbon kicks the conversion from right in front. The Kangaroos hit the lead 18-16
49th min: TRY - KANGAROOS Cooper gets his second of the night as the Kiwis fall to pieces. Patient running and passing is paying off. Ryles and O'Meley causing mayhem. Fitzgibbon nails a tough kick. Kangaroos 24-16
57th min: NEWS - The defence from the Kangaroos stopping any scoring opportunities the Kiwis tried to throw at them, and there were plenty. Kangaroos lead 24-16
64th min: TRY - KIWIS The Kiwis needed to score next and Webster is over wide for the home side. The quick ball batted on by Whatuira gets him over the line. Jones kicks a shocker. Kangaroos 24-20
68th min: TRY - KANGAROOS A quiet Minichiello burst into life with a line ball pass from Kennedy. He wrong foots a sprawling Webster to score the try. Johns misses the conversion as it hits the upright. Kangaroos 28-20
71st min: NO TRY - KANGAROOS Minichiello looked to have scored his 2nd try but the video replay shows Kiwi arms under the ball. 1 tackle left for the Kangaroos in the set, with Webster ending up with the ball following a Minichiello chip kick. Kangaroos 28-20
76th min: NEWS - O'Donnell hits Jones around the throat and is penalised. A few niggles shown in response to the tackle
77th min: TRY - KIWIS Webb held back in the fifth tackle results in a penalty to the Kiwis right in front of the goal posts. A quick tap by Faiumu and he goes throw the soft defence to score. A quick conversion taken by Jones. Kangaroos 28-26
FULL TIME: Right down to the wire but the Kangaroos win a thrilling game by 28-26
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Cooper(Kangaroos) 2 - B Kennedy(Kangaroos) 1 - D Kidwell(Kiwis) -----------------------------------------
More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130