GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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Australia was outstanding, New Zealand outclassed and the July test rendered outdated at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night.
Chris Anderson's side humiliated the Kiwis with a nine try romp on their way to a 48-6 win, a victory which almost certainly signalled the death of the one-off July test and confirmed Australia's status as world champions.
"It gets better and better," a delighted Anderson said.
"It's a side that performed incredibly well tonight without Darren Lockyer, who's one of the best players in the world.
"It's a quality side in any code of football.
"We played some incredible football. I think any side would struggle to stay with us when we throw the ball around like we did tonight."
The Kiwis did manage to keep Australia in check for 15 minutes.
But the remaining 65 were a cakewalk for the home side, even without second rower Gorden Tallis, who limped off the field early in the first half with a medial strain to his right knee.
Matt Sing, Brent Tate and Jamie Lyon finished with doubles and international rugby league with another black eye, to match the one it picked up almost a year ago when Australia thrashed Great Britain 64-10 in the corresponding July test.
That result was a warning for the Kiwis.
New Zealand coach Daniel Anderson conceded as much after the match, admitting he feared the worst after reading a letter from Great Britain coach David Waite.
"It's an ambush," Anderson said.
"He (Waite) was talking about coming down here for the post-Origin beat-up after what happened last year.
"I have to say it doesn't do anything for international rugby league."
Australian Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr said the situation would be reviewed at the end of the season and conceded it was asking a lot of international sides to face an Australian side made up of Origin-hardened players.
"We're too hard to beat coming off three Origins," Carr said.
"I guess if we're going to play a mid-season test match we have to look at our options."
The night began poorly for the Kiwis when video referees Phil Cooley and Alan Candy decided against awarding a try to Logan Swann in only the fourth minute.
It proved to the their only chance of a poor opening 40 minutes.
Sing christened his return to test football with the game's opening try in the 16th minute and the rout was on.
Four minutes into the second half Tate got his second, racing 95 metres out of dummy half and beating Clinton Toopi and David Vaealiki to score.
The Kiwis' lone consolation came in the 53rd minute when Richard Swain, who was forced to play halfback when Stacey Jones left the field early in the second half, crossed without a hand being laid on him.
"A lot of our guys were really match-hardened and fit," captain Andrew Johns said.
"After about 20 minutes I could feel our fitness come around. It's been a tough two months...but it's the best time to play."
New Zealand second rower Stephen Kearney finished the match on report for a high tackle on Luke Bailey while Jones (groin), Matt Utai (shoulder) and David Vaealiki (leg) couldn't complete the second half.
The sides will meet again in October.
"In October we can turn the result around," Kiwi captain Ruben Wiki said.