Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
40 hours ago
Tri-Nations 2006 Final
Australia 16 v New Zealand 12
at Aussie Stadium
Referee: Ashley Klein
Pass me the oxygen please! The lungs are struggling and the mouth is dry but the heart is still beating and we have a victor!
When it comes to international footy, it simply does not get any better than this! You may think it sounds like hyperbole, but believe me, it's not.
Australia defeated a gallant New Zealand in Golden Point 16-12 to win back the Tri Nations trophy but it was done through momentous effort against a side that refused to quit under the most adverse conditions imaginable. The Kiwis lost three players to injury but at no stage did they throw in the towel. Bloodied and bruised, they continued to pick themselves up off the canvass to go the extra round. In the end, it was the brilliance of Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer that provided the knockout blow in the 87th minute of play.
87 minutes is how long it took to separate the two sides and at the end of the day, it was only goal kicking that made the difference.
I honestly thought New Zealand had this game won and were finishing over the top of Australia in a game that is near impossible to describe. There was blood flowing from both sides but no one quit and when I watch international footy, this is how I love it. I love it rough, tough and brave.
Kudos to the Kiwis and they have played their part in seeing the international game continue to prosper through a team that is the equal of Australia. Players such as David Kidwell, Simon Mannering, Iosia Soliola and Frank Pritchard showed the commitment and passion for the Kiwi jersey that have long been held sacred by the elder statesmen such as Ruben Wiki and Stacey Jones.
Tonight we got it all in abundance and if you are an Australian, you are smiling, but spare a thought for our brothers across the ditch, they are feeling the pain right now in losing a game no one deserves to lose.
My one hope is the international game won a lot of new supporters tonight because we saw the greatest sporting team in Australia do battle and unlike the sick and sorry Wallabies, the mighty Kangaroos have the killer instinct and pride in the jersey to fight until the death and not meekly surrender when the going gets tough.
Moreso than the Australian win, I am happy that international footy is back on the map and we have three teams who are showing why Rugby League is the greatest game of all.
Tri-Nations web site - news, results, teams and history > click here
Tries: Darren Lockyer, Brent Tate
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 4/4
New Zealand: 12
Tries: Frank Pritchard, Iosia Soliola
Goals: Stacey Jones 2/4
By the Clock:
0 min: NEWS Both teams enter the field side by side for the Tri-Nations final.
A good but not great crowd in attendance as we prepare for the national anthems of both teams and then the mighty Haka from the Kiwis.
1 min: NEWS We are underway in the final of the tri-nations. I hope it turns out to be a cracker!
4 min: PENALTY GOAL Australia
Australia take the early lead through a penalty goal to Joanthan Thurston.
6 min: NEWS A ew penalties early on and the Kiwis are on the attack. Aussies standing firm at the moment.
8 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand
Stacey Jones kicks the Kiwis level through a penalty goal. 2 all.
10 min: TRY Australia
Brent Tate scores in the corner after Mark Gasnier made a great break down the right hand side of hte field and ound Tate in support, who crossed untouched.
13 min: NEWS Vatuvei knocks on in his own half to give the ball back to the Aussies in great field position.
16 min: NEWS New Zealand forced into their second goal line drop out through some sustained pressure from Australia. Can the Kiwis hold on for another six tackles?
19 min: NEWS Gasnier and Tate are exploiting the right hand side of the field and it's paying dividends at the moment.
21 min: NEWS Big Willie is on! Look out New Zealand and David Kidwell.
24 min: PENALTY GOAL Australia
Jonathan Thurston kicks another penalty goal as Australia extend their lead beyond a converted try.
28 min: NEWS New Zealand struggling to get out of their own end at the moment and Steve Matai has left the field with an arm/shoulder injury.
29 min: TRY New Zealand
Stacey Jones chips for Brent Webb who then passes the ball onto a flying Frank Pritchard who scores in the corner for a crucial try. Conversion unsuccessful.
33 min: NEWS Kiwis lifting their game and on the back of another penalty, are on the attack again.
38 min: NEWS Kiwis almost score of a Stacey Jones banana kick but Thurston was there to clean up. Close call for the Aussies.
41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half!
44 min: NEWS The Kiwis are starting to get on top in this match and the crowd are getting right behind them. AN engrossing contest unfolding at Aussie Stadium!
46 min: TRY New Zealand
The Kiws are in again and have Australia on the ropes at the moment. Soliola scores out wide off an inside pass from Nigel Vagana. Conversion unsuccessful. 10 all.
49 min: PENALTY GOAL Australia
Thurston puts Australia back in the lead with another penalty goal. 12-10 Australia.
60 min: NEWS Australia forced into back to back line drop outs as the Kiwis up the ante as we enter the last quarter of the Tri Nations final.
64 min: NEWS Australia can't land the killer blow but the Kiwis are making too many mistakes to put the Aussies away.
66 min: NEWS Gasnier heading for the corner is bundled into touch. Great Kiwi defence.
68 min: NEWS Berrigan knocks on in his own half. Can the Kiwis make the Aussies pay?
71 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand
Jones kicks a penalty goal to lock it all up with under ten to go. Hold on folks, we are in for a wild finish!
76 min: NEWS Kiwis attacking the Australian line with under five to go. Nailbiting stuff!
77 min: NEWS Brent Webb just misses a field goal to give the Kiwis the win. Kiwis are monstering the Aussies at the moment.
78 min: NEWS Cameron Smith kicks a 40/20 to give Australia the scrum feed with under three minutes remaining.
79 min: NEWS Thurston misses his shot at field goal.
80 min: NEWS Jones misses with his shot at field goal.
80 min: NEWS Willie Mason makes a break, chips ahead and we are off to the video ref to see of Jonathan Thurston has scored the winning try.
80 min: NEWS End of regular time as we move to golden point.
85 min: NEWS First period of golden point is over with no side able to score. We now play until someone scores. What an epic decider!
87 min: TRY Australia
Darren Lokcyer scores in the 87th minute to give Australia victory in the Tri Nations final. Absolute epic match and congrats to both sides on a superb contest.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Darren Lockyer
2 - Simon Mannering
1 - Johnathan Thurston