The Junior Kangaroos strolled to a 48-16 win over the Junior Kiwis in the curtain-raiser to Saturday’s rugby league Test at Townsville.
New Zealand took the lead through Carlos Tuimavave’s early try but Kelly Egan’s side hit back through efforts from Edrick Lee, David Klemmer, Jake Stockwell, Cheyse Blair and Jack Wighton, with Wests Tigers halfback Jacob Miller kicking five goals.
Ngataua Hukatai pulled four points back for the Kiwis with a well-taken try, but the hosts led 30-8 at halftime after Penani Manumalealii missed the extras.
The second period saw the Kiwis cut the deficit when David Fastiua raced 90 metres to score after intercepting a Miller pass.
However, any hopes of a stirring comeback from the tourists were dashed following a sustained spell of pressure from Kangaroos that yielded quickfire tries from Wighton, exciting young Melbourne winger Mahe Fonua and Canberra’s Lee.
The Kiwis, struggling in the humid conditions, did almost score again through Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, only for the Sydney Roosters winger’s try to be chalked off for a double movement.
But their efforts were rewarded with a second for Hukatai.
The Kangaroos had the final word when giant Sydney Roosters centre Tautau Moga brushed aside two tackles to score in the final seconds of the game for his side’s ninth try.
That led to a scuffle between both sets of players with Jason Taumalolo and Kane Evans going toe-to-toe.
Miller then missed the conversion to end the game with six goals.