Australia salvaged some pride after their 2008 World Cup final loss with a 38-10 win over New Zealand in Brisbane tonight.
In what was fast-paced match Australia's backs took their chances against a tiring New Zealand pack in the second half to finally give themselves an impressive 28-point winning margin.
The match got off to a frenetic start with both sides trying their hand early on but an early mistake from Iosia Soliola put all the pressure on New Zealand just metres from their own line. The Kiwis paid for this error in the worst possible way with Israel Folau gliding through a wide gap on the right side to open the scoring in the 7th minute.
The World Champions were determined to hit back though and after several back-to-back sets finally found their way through with Sam Perrett running in off a short pass from Bronson Harrison. Benji Marshall gave his team the lead with the conversion and after 18 minutes New Zealand were ahead 6-4.
Some individual brilliance from Australia found them on the backfoot less than 10 minutes later though when Thurston backed himself to steal the lead back. Thurston's try and conversion gave Australia a 10-6 lead as the firsthalf exchanges dimmed down and New Zealand started to tire.
Justin Hodges then exploited New Zealand's tiring forward pack with a burst from dummy-half to give his team a 10-point buffer just before the main break.
New Zealand came out in the second half needing to score first, but unfortunately it was Australia who found their way through again with Thurston given the green light after a jump over the line from a Stewart offload. Australia lead by more than two converted tries at 22-6 and New Zealand looked stunned.
Glenn Stewart then involved himself again in a scoring move with some quick hands putting a lightning quick Billy Slater in and giving Australia a 20-point lead.
New Zealand knew they had to hit back and finally fed their backs some decent ball. Manu Vatuvei crashed his way through like a rhino to add some dignity to the score at 26-10.
The final quarter came and it was all Australia with Darius Boyd finding his first test try after keeping his feet above the touchline and Justin Hodges grabbing his second to give Australia a deserved 38-10 win.
Match Details Australia 38 def New Zealand 10 Test Match - Friday May 8th, 2009 7:45pm Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Referee: Richard Silverwood Sideline Officials: Paul Holland, Adam Burns Video Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 37,152 Halftime: Australia 16 New Zealand 6 Australia 38 Tries: Johnathan Thurston (2), Justin Hodges (2), Israel Folau, Billy Slater, Darius Boyd Goals: Johnathan Thurston (5/7) New Zealand 10 Tries: Sam Perrett, Manu Vatuvei Goals: Benji Marshall (1/2) LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Glenn Stewart (Australia) 2 Points: Johnathan Thurston (Australia) 1 Point: Adam Blair (New Zealand) LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary The history of Australia/ New Zealand internationals has seen a favourable record for the Kangaroos, but times have changed. New Zealand stole the showpiece of last year's world cup with a 34-20 victory to shock Australia in the final, at the same stadium as tonight's match. Friday night football brings us to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and gives us our first international match of the year with traditional Tasman rivalry on the pitch. It's Australia versus New Zealand and we'll bring you all the action live in just under 15 minutes.
KANGAROOS: 1. Billy Slater 2. Darius Boyd 3. Greg Inglis 4. Justin Hodges 5. Israel Folau 6. Darren Lockyer (c) 7. Johnathan Thurston 8. Petero Civoniceva 9. Cameron Smith 10. Steve Price 11. Anthony Laffranchi 12. Paul Gallen 13. Glenn Stewart Interchange: 14. Kurt Gidley 15. Brent Kite 16. Luke Bailey 17. Anthony Watmough Coach: Tim Sheens KIWIS: 1. Lance Hohaia, 2. Sam Perrett, 17. Iosia Soliola, 4. Jerome Ropati, 5. Manu Vatuvei, 6. Nathan Fien, 7. Benji Marshall (c), 8. Roy Asotasi, 9. Dene Halatau, 10. Adam Blair, 11. David Fa Like