Two tries from Kangaroos centre Greg Inglis has helped Australia see off a willing Kiwis outfit 26-6 in a Four Nations warm-up Test at Perth’s nib Stadium.
Australia left new Kiwis coach David Kidwell with plenty of work to do ahead of the Four Nations in a fortnight’s time, with Inglis securing his 30th try for Australia in front of a 20,000-strong crowd.
Kiwis prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves made his presence known in the first three minutes of his Test return by hitting five-eighth Johnathan Thurston across the face, and putting his immediate Four Nations future in limbo.
But it became much worse for New Zealand’s rookie mentor Kidwell with a poor showing from veteran centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall and an uncharacteristic performance from skipper Jesse Bromwich.
The Kangaroos scored the game’s first try in the eighth minute when fullback Darius Boyd made cannon fodder of new centre-wing combination Kenny-Dowall and Jordan Rapana.
Inglis was the Kangaroos’ next try scorer in the 14th minute when a Valentine Holmes kick deflected off the head of Kiwis fullback Jordan Kahu and into Inglis’s arms to give the hosts an early 8-0 lead.
New Zealand halfback Shaun Johnson kicked into gear midway through the first half when a short ball put back-rower Kevin Proctor over for the Kiwis’ first try.
While a spirited effort from both sides followed for the remainder of the first stanza, the score remained unchanged at 8-6 by half-time.
It didn’t take long for the Kangaroos to stretch ahead once again in the second half when Holmes scored in the 43rd minute after the home side capitalised immediately from another Kenny-Dowall error.
The Kangaroos put the result beyond doubt when Inglis scored his second try in the 68th minute. A grubber from dummy half by skipper Cameron Smith rebounded favourably off Inglis’s legs, allowing him to simply fall on the ball over the white stripe.
Kiwis debutant – and perhaps his team’s best – Solomone Kata looked to give New Zealand a sniff in the final six minutes but he was ruled to be offside by the bunker.
Kangaroos back-rower Boyd Cordner put the icing on the cake after a strong individual performance with a four-pointer at the death when he bullocked his way past Johnson and Kenny-Dowall.
Australia 26 (Greg Inglis 2, Darius Boyd, Valentine Holmes, Boyd Cordner tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals) defeated New Zealand 6 (Kevin Proctor try; Issac Luke goal) at nib Stadium. Crowd: 20,283. Half-time: Kangaroos 8-0.