Great Britain finished the season in style as a much improved New Zealand could not avert a 3-0 series whitewash. A burst of British scoring either side of half-time wiped out an early 12-point deficit and the World Cup a year from now looks a much less daunting prospect than it did a month ago.
Britain opened expansively, until they were pulled up for a dubious forward pass. New Zealand took advantage, Ben Roberts throwing a long pass to Clinton Toopi, who gave the 18-year-old Chase Stanley a chance to score with his first touch in a Test. Adrian Morley's pass gave away possession for the second Kiwi try, Paul Whatuira scoring in the corner.
Jeremy Smith, the Melbourne forward of that name rather than the Parramatta half-back, kicked a second conversion and Britain were struggling to find their rhythm. Stanley was unable to take a couple of chances created by kicks to his wing, though one was foiled only by David Hodgson tackling him in the air, at the cost of a penalty.
Martin Gleeson should have put Britain on the scoreboard but he knocked on when Danny McGuire had put him in a gap.
The breakthrough came in the seven minutes before half-time, starting with James Graham getting the ball over the line despite three Kiwis clustered around him. Four minutes before the break Sean O'Loughlin, the only Wigan player on home soil for this Test, got a late pass out of the tackle for Keith Senior to touch down.
Immediately before the break, Stanley fumbled McGuire's high kick and from the scrum Rob Burrow and Senior put Hodgson over. Burrow, later voted man of the series, jinked past four tacklers for a classic score at the start of the second half.
Fifteen minutes into that second period McGuire chased O'Loughlin's kick, gathered it and beat the half-back Jeremy Smith to score Britain's last try. Stanley got his second for New Zealand but Britain were in no mood to give the Kiwis any consolation. Burrow kicked a penalty and Taniela Tuiaki's try came too late.
Great Britain: Wellens (St Helens), Hodgson (Huddersfield), Gleeson (Warrington), Senior (Leeds), Gardner (St Helens), McGuire (Leeds), Burrow (Leeds), Morley (Warrington), Clarke (Warrington), Peacock (Leeds), Ellis (Leeds), O'Loughlin (Wigan), Wilkin (St Helen). Substitutes used: Graham (St Helens) Jones-Buchanan (Leeds), Robey (St Helens) Yeaman (Hull).
New Zealand: Perrett (Sydney City), Stanley (St George Ilawarra), Toopi (Leeds), Whatuira (Wests Tigers), Tuiaki (Wests Tigers), Roberts (Bulldogs), Smith (Parramatta), Rapira (NZ Warriors), Halatau (Wests Tigers), Asotasi (South Sydney), Anderson (NZ Warriors), Smith (Melbourne), Mannering (Warriors). Substitutes used: Hohaia (Warriors), MoiMoi (Parramatta), Lauaki (Warriors), Lima (Melbourne).
Referee: T Archer (Australia).Reuse content