Australia inch past New Zealand to make final

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Australia Men v New Zealand Men

Australia are the first side through to the Rugby League World Cup final in their 16-14 win against New Zealand today in Leeds. 

It was a brutal and bruising semi-final but Australia held their nerve with the only points of the second half to Rabbitohs backrower Cameron Murray to become the first side into the final and look for another title. 

A clash between two of the top sides in International Rugby League didn't disappoint as both Australia and New Zealand left it all out on the pitch in Leeds in their semi-final clash and it showed in the final score. 

New Zealand were the first side to get on the board.  A pinpoint kick which was taken by Joseph Manu who passed it to Jahrome Hughes to dive over and give the Kiwis the perfect start against the reigning champions. 

Australia looked to their air themselves for their first four-pointer. Ben Hunt lofted a kick high for who else but Josh Addo-Carr to swoop on the ball and score his 12th try of the tournament and make it 6 all.

For much of the first half, New Zealand looked the side that were in control. They were offloading at will and causing Australia some headaches in defence. They inched ahead again from an offside penalty which saw Jordan Rapana pilot over the conversion for 8-6. 

In a scrappy game, the tries were first class. Australia opted to run the ball through Nathan Cleary, he found Jack Wighton who shrugged off a tackle and found a wide open Valentine Holmes to give the Kangaroos their first lead of the game. 

Fittingly, New Zealand took a slender 14-10 lead going into the break. They found space on the left side through Ronaldo Mulitalo who weighed up the options well and found Dylan Brown to dive over just before the break. 

The second half was a much more taxing affair between the two forward packs. There was only six points scored in a half where the two sides just bashed into each other and left it all out there to make the final. 

Those only points were scored by Australia. From a penalty restart, Cameron Murray spotted the New Zealand defence not set and charged over from close range then Cleary saluted from the tee to make it 16-14. 

New Zealand had some chances late in the game including the final minutes. Rapana started the move with a huge run but an early kick for Peta Hiku was well guarded by Addo-Carr to deny them the score. 

Australia held on and head to another World Cup final. They will face either England or Samoa in that game pending what happens in London on Saturday but the defending champions will need to tighten up their play to lift the trophy. 

Australia Men 16 - New Zealand Men 14

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds
Crowd: 28113
Halftime Score: Australia Men 10 New Zealand Men 14 Players of the Match:
3 points - Josh Addo-Carr
2 points - Joseph Manu
1 points - Liam Martin

Tries: Josh Addo-Carr, Valentine Holmes, Cameron Murray
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (2/3)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Jahrome Hughes, Dylan Brown
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Jordan Rapana (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Jordan Rapana (1/1)

See how it happened in our Match Centre