New Zealand stun Australia to take
Tri-Nations title

Fulltime score: Tri-Nations Final New Zealand 24 def. Australia 0

Match summary: New Zealand have tonight stunned the international rugby league community with a resounding 24-0 victory over Australia in the Tri-Nations final at Elland Road in Leeds.

The Kiwis started strongly with centre Paul Whatuira managing to cling onto a cross-field kick from halfback Stacey Jones, and score out wide to give his team a 4-0 advantage early on.

International newcomer of the year Manu Vatuvei extended the Kiwis? lead to 8 with a damaging try in the corner, after some excellent lead-up work from the Kiwis? backline. Jones was unsuccessful with the attempt at conversion and after 20 minutes of play, the Kiwis led 8-0.

Vatuvei nabbed his second try just 5 minutes later after another pin-point cross-field kick from Jones, but with another failed conversion attempt from the little master the Kiwis remained 12 point leaders.

Successive penalty goals to Jones going into halftime was always going to make the Australian task all the more difficult in the second half, and his side took a 16-0 lead into the break.

Brent Webb?s try 11 minutes into the second half clinched the victory for the Kiwis, with the way the Australians were playing they were never going to reel in a 22-0 deficit.

Jones rubbed salt into the Kangaroo wounds with a successful penalty goal 23 minutes from time, and that was all the scoreboard attendant was required to do as the Kiwis held on for an unbelievable 24-0 victory. The first time that Australia have been held scoreless in a test match since 1985.

Most were anticipating an Australian revival in the second half but it never came to fruition, handling errors were appallingly high for the green and gold right throughout the match.

This result is great for New Zealand rugby league and great for the international game in general. The predictability of international fixtures is no longer present and one can only feel that the international game will go from strength to strength as a result of this Kiwi victory.

Australia will no doubt be disgusted with their efforts tonight, and one must wonder whether an Australian side selected on form would have performed in this manner. The ARL must regroup as a result of this loss, and may need to ask a few questions of a few people in high places like the coaching staff and the selection committee in general.

All in all, a great night for New Zealand rugby league and the game in general. That?s it for 2005, we?ll see you in 2006!

Scorers: AUSTRALIA KANGAROOS 0 Tries: Goals: NEW ZEALAND KIWIS 24 Tries: P.Whaturia, M.Vatuvei 2, B. Webb Goals: Jones 4/7

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds Crowd: 26,534 Referee: Steve Ganson (GB) Half time: New Zealand 16-0

Live commentary:

Good Evening and welcome to the 2005 Tri-Nations Final.

The game is about ten minutes away between Australia and New Zealand.

They forecasted snow but at the moment it's only cold and no snow, hopefully it remains that way.

Of course around six weeks ago New Zealand beat Australia in the Tri-Nations opener and only went down by 2 points the next week. The game shapes up to be a great one.

Teams are taking the field, with kick off not far away.

1st min: Kick Off!!!

3rd Min: TRY - New Zealand. After a cross-field kick from Stacey Jones, Matt King loses it in-goal and Paul Whaturia scores the first Try. Jones misses, NZ 4-0.

6th Min: News - Australia spread the ball wide on an attacking raid but five Kiwi's push Matt King into touch. New Zealand on top in the early stages.

10th Min: News - Australia close to the line but again great defense by the Kiwi's pushing Brent Tate into touch.

18th Min: News - After David Kidwell takes an intercept, Brent Tate hits him with a huge hit. Kidwell and O'Donnell then started a fight with all players coming in. Penalty has gone to NZ.

20th Min: TRY - New Zealand. New Zealand extend their lead as Manu Vatuvei crosses after the Kiwi's spread the ball wide. Australia need to start hitting back now, New Zealand on top as Jones misses. NZ 8-0.

25th Min: TRY - New Zealand. Vatuvei gets his second try after a little cross field kick from Stacey Jones. Jones again misses but New Zealand lead 12-0.

34th Min: Penalty to New Zealand right in front of the posts. Jones gets it and New Zealand lead 14-0.

37th Min: Another penalty kick to New Zealand and once again Jones kicks it to give New Zealand a 16-0 lead.

Halftime: New Zealand lead 16-0 at Halftime in the Tri-Nations Final. New Zealand have been much better in this first half and Australia will need to improve a lot to get on top and win this game. Back with the 2nd half soon.

41st Min: Second Half underway!!!

45th Min: News - A chance for Australia but Trent Barrett can't get the ball down over the line. Score remains 16-0.

51st Min: TRY - New Zealand. Brent Webb scores the Try that might just win the match for New Zealand. Jones converts and New Zealand lead 22-0.

57th Min: Penalty kick for New Zealand and Jones makes no mistake. NZ 24-0.

61st Min: News - Vagana being carried off the field with an Ankle injury.

69th Min: News - A chance for New Zealand but the Referee rules a forward pass. Ten minutes left and NZ lead 24-0.

Fulltime: The Kiwi's have won the Tri-Nations by defeating the Aussies 24-0 tonight. A great performance by New Zealand and deserving champions.

----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Jones (New Zealand) 2 - M Vatuvei (New Zealand) 1 - B Webb (New Zealand) -----------------------------------------

More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130

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