Australia 16-14 New Zealand: Highlights, player ratings and talking points for England’s Shaun Wane to consider if England make it to final

Australia have booked their place in yet another Rugby League World Cup Final in an all time great semi-final against New Zealand.

The Kiwis led 14-10 at the break but domination for Australia in the second half saw them edge it with the second half’s only try.


Quick start ensured by super Kiwi spine
You have to say New Zealand started the better. Their ball movement had the Australians stretched and enabled the Kiwis to poke holes through the defence. Eventually this strong start translated to points on the board as Dylan Brown’s kick was claimed by Joey Manu passing inside to Jahrome Hughes to score.

Australia strike back with one of the tries of the tournament
After dealing with the early Kiwi pressure, Australia proved they had threat from deep as they broke down the right with Valentine Holmes. A tackle later a long range kick from near half way from Ben Hunt landed just shy of the try line where Josh Addo-Carr was waiting to take it on the full to score.

Impossible tackle matched by impossible pass
Australia took the lead again after New Zealand edged ahead with penalty. It was a try which came from the brilliance of Jack Wighton who jinked passed his defender and looked destined for a try until a brilliant scramble tackle managed to swing his body away from the try line. It was an impossible tackle by Joey Manu but unfortunately for him it was met with an impossible offload as Wighton squirmed out of the tackle as he hit the floor and found Val Holmes to score in the corner.

Quick Kiwi hands give them the lead
Superb quick hands after a brilliant Nelson Asofa-Solomona run saw Ronaldo Mulitalo burst down the wing. He showed amazing pace to pull away from the cover tacklers and find Dylan Brown inside.

A game of inches
At the start of the second half Peta Hiku thought he’d extended New Zealand’s lead but the try was called back for one of the closest offside calls you’ll see akin to Lee Smith’s decisive Grand Final try in 2009. There was perhaps a case to be made that a Kiwi had been taken out as well. Shortly after, Australia attacked knocked on igniting a seismic brawl centre field started by a push from Cameron Murray as tempers boiled as well all knew they would.

As simple as they come
After a controversial penalty, Australia went over as simple try as you’ll see from Murray as he powered over from close range.

A game of inches again
Once again Hiku could have scored but in a cruel blow he grounded the ball on the touchline after Hughes’ kick.

Talking Points for Shaun Wane

Australia start slow but dominate in the end
Should England make it to the final against Australia, Shaun Wane may want to make note of how Australia started slow but seemed the fitter of the two sides as the game went into the latter stages with the Kangaroos completing suffocating the Kiwis in the second half giving them very few look ins.

Backfield crucial
As Australia suffocated the Kiwis it was key that the backfield will be key to any side hoping to beat the Aussies. Nathan Cleary’s kicking game is akin to death by a thousand cuts.

Australia are beatable
Tonight showed that the Australians are beatable especially if you play with speed and move the ball around effectively. A strong backfield, as England and Samoa have, will also be key.

Player Ratings:

1 James Tedesco – 7
4 Val Holmes – 7
10 Jack Wighhton – 8
8 Latrell Mitchell – 8
9 Josh Addo-Carr – 8
7 Cameron Munster – 7
14 Nathan Cleary – 7
5 Jake Trbojevic – 8
3 Ben Hunt – 8
6 Reagan Campbell-Gillard – 7
17 Angus Crichton – 7
21 Liam Martin – 8
24 Isaah Yeo – 7
20 Harry Grant – 8
13 Patrick Carrigan – 7
11 Cameron Murray – 8
18 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui – 7

New Zealand
1 Joseph Manu – 8
5 Jordan Rapana – 8
4 Peta Hiku – 8
21 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad – 8
2 Ronald Mulitalo – 8
6 Dylan Brown – 8
7 Jahrome Hughes – 8
8 Jesse Bromwich – 7
9 Brandon Smith – 8
10 James Fisher-Harris – 8
11 Isaiah Papali’i – 7
17 Briton Nikora – 7
13 Joseph Tapine – 7
14 Kieran Foran – 7
15 Moses Leota – 7
16 Nelson Asofa-Solomona – 8
20 Isaac Liu – 7