Australia’s 17-match winning run was brought to a shattering end with a comprehensive defeat by New Zealand in their Four Nations clash in Brisbane.
The depleted Kangaroos, who needed one more win to enter the record books, let slip a 12-6 lead, conceding 24 unanswered points as the Kiwis gained some revenge for their World Cup final defeat with a 30-12 triumph.
The result means that Australia, the holders, will need to beat England in Melbourne next Sunday to keep alive their hopes of reaching the November 15 final in Wellington.
Already without 10 members of the team that beat the Kiwis in May, the Aussies lost scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans to a lower-back injury in the first half and full-back Greg Inglis succumbed at half-time to a virus that had laid him low before the game.
Early tries from Inglis – his 24th in 20 appearances – and second rower Beau Scott hinted at a straightforward outcome to the second half of the double-header at the Suncorp Stadium.
But the Kiwis were full of spirit and twice fought back to level at 12-12 at the break and also had two tries disallowed.
Second rower Kevin Proctor scattered three defenders on a rampaging run to the line and substitute Lewis Brown took advantage of a rare fumble by Inglis to touch down on his return to the side after a three-year absence.
Proctor was also denied by a forward pass, while the Kangaroos had a let-off when winger Jason Nightingale lost control of the ball as he attempted to touch down after collecting Kieran Foran’s cut-out pass.
Australia coach Tim Sheens, who had given five players his debut, was forced to reshuffle his side in the absence of Cherry-Evans and Inglis and the gaps started to appear as the Kiwis discovered their confidence.
A midfield break by second rower Greg Eastwood set up the position for impressive half-back Shaun Johnson to touch down for a third try, taking advantage of a couple of ricochets from his grubber kick, seven minutes into the second half.
Centre Dean Whare then collected Foran’s high kick to score a fourth try and Nightingale rounded off the scoring after pouncing on a handling error by make-shift full-back Dylan Walker.
Johnson maintained his 100 per cent record by landing a fifth conversion from the touchline and clinch a famous win.