Kangaroos beat New Zealand 26-6 in one-off league test
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australia beat New Zealand 26-6 in a rugby league international on Saturday, boosting the Kangaroos' preparation for the impending Four Nations.
Center Greg Inglis scored a try in each half, and winger Valentine Holmes also scored on debut as Australia dominated New Zealand in the one-off international which serves as the major preparation for both teams heading into the Four Nations, which also involves host England and Scotland from Oct. 28.
Australia took a slim 8-6 lead to halftime, but Holmes' try in the 43rd minute and Inglis' second made their win emphatic and backed up their 16-0 win when the teams last met in May.
"We spoke all week about being a professional outfit and playing the way we want the Kangaroos to play and I thought we did that tonight," Australia captain Cameron Smith said.
"We went away from a few things late in that first half but I thought we played a really clinical second 40. The boys ran hard, the boys tackled hard, and it's just nice to see a couple of second plays come off as well."
Australia enjoyed more than 70 percent of possession in the first quarter, and it emphasized that superiority with tries to fullback Darius Boyd in the ninth minute and Inglis four minutes later.
Boyd ran onto a long pass from five eighth Johnathan Thurston for his try, and Thurston's attempted conversion struck the crossbar. Inglis showed incredible skill to control a kick which bounced off a Kiwis player to score a try which put Australia ahead 8-0 after 13 minutes.
New Zealand enjoyed its best period in the following 10 minutes, and scored a try through Kevin Proctor which cut the lead to 8-6 by halftime.
But Holmes' try from a New Zealand error immediately after halftime enlarged Australia's margin, and Inglis ensured a Kangaroos victory with his second try. He fell on a kick which cannoned off a New Zealand player in the in-goal area for his 30th test try.
Boyd Cordner scored Australia's final converted try.
The Kiwis lacked leadership or organization in their first match under new coach David Kidwell.
"We worked really hard in the first half and managed to claw our way back into the game but we really let ourselves down in the second half," New Zealand captain Jesse Bromwich said. "Australia are a classy side and we can't give them that much ball and expect to win. We have to improve that in the next few games."
Australia 26 (Greg Inglis 2, Valentine Holmes, Darius Boyd, Boyd Cordner tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals), New Zealand 6 (Kevin Proctor try; Isaac Luke goal). HT: 8-6.