Australia hit top gear right from the start

Australia 26 New Zealand 12

Australia and New Zealand showed that the standard required to win the Four Nations will be high as they produced a compelling contest to open the tournament.

In front of a full house at Warrington and the watching English coaching staff, the Kangaroos demonstrated much of the relentless defence and clinical finishing that makes them tournament favourites.

But the way the Kiwis, victorious over Australia in their last two major finals, fought back to within four points in the second half marked them out as real dangers as well. Steve McNamara and his assistants went away with plenty to think about.

New Zealand were beaten 40-6 the last time these two sides met two weeks ago. They got off to a dreadful start that day, so it was doubly important that they began well at the Halliwell Jones.

Instead, they gave Australia an extra set of tackles when Simon Mannering hung on to Cameron Smith in the tackle. Almost inevitably, they were punished when Matt Scott rumbled over from close range. The Kiwis had a good 25 minutes after that dismal start, spending much of it attacking the Aussie line without ever quite finding the precision to get over.

Again almost inevitably, Australia showed them how it was done, although it took the arrival from the bench of Tony Williams to do it. Billy Slater, Chris Lawrence and Darius Boyd handled beautifully down the left, Johnathon Thurston kicked and then retrieved the loose ball and Williams, formerly a winger but now a menacing presence in the second row, powered his way over the try-line.

As half-time approached, the hulking Williams broke through again, this time passing to Thurston when he could almost certainly have scored himself. Thurston rolled over to touch down but could not add a third conversion.

Jason Nightingale's break and inside pass could have produced a Kiwi riposte, but the ball would not quite stick in the hands of the supporting Kevin Locke. They did make their breakthrough after 47 minutes, when Kieran Foran's kick caused confusion and Nightingale swooped on the loose ball. Benji Marshall's conversion reduced the gap to 10 points, further eaten into when Kalifa Faifai Loa charged over after fine attacking work by Nightingale and Gerard Beale.

Jolted to attention, Australia went up a gear, with Thurston and Lawrence combining to send Boyd in. The Kiwis continued to have their chances, but were often guilty of naivety near the try-line, as when Beale was forced into touch. They almost manufactured an acrobatic try for Locke, but Nightingale's feet were on the dead-ball line.

With four minutes to play, Australia made sure of victory by a slightly flattering scoreline when Akuila Uate latched on to Billy Slater's kick.

Australia: Slater; Uate, Tonga, Lawrence, Boyd; Lockyer, Thurston; Scott, C.Smith, Gallen, Lewis, Thaiday, Watmough. Substitutes used: Shillington, Cronk, Williams, Galloway.

New Zealand: Locke; Loa, Brown, Beale, Nightingale; Marshall, Foran; Matulino, Luke, McKendry, Manu, Mannering, J.Smith. Substitutes used: Leuluai, Glenn, Wharea-Hargreaves, Moimoi.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform