Kangaroos outlast Kiwis in Townsville

Australia downed New Zealand 18-10 in a high quality rugby league Test in Townsville on Saturday night.

In an arm-wrestle of a game, Tim Sheens’ side outlasted the Kiwis in front of a capacity crowd of more than 26,000.

New Zealand have not beaten Australia in a one-off Test since 2003 and skipper Cameron Smith becomes only the third man to captain a side to three trophies in a year after helping Melbourne to the NRL premiership and Queensland to a seventh straight State of Origin series.

Darius Boyd’s try seven minutes from time sealed the win after a brilliant flick pass from Paul Gallen put the winger clear to run under the posts.

Johnathan Thurston’s conversion saw him eclipse Mick Cronin’s record number of points against the Kiwis by an Australian, after the hosts were forced to withstand an early barrage of pressure from Stephen Kearney’s side after the interval.

Some strong defence prevented the tourists taking the lead, after the sides were locked at 10-10 at the interval.

However, Thurston scored from a penalty to give the hosts a slender lead on 65 minutes, after Krisnan Inu was harshly penalised for a strip on Greg Inglis.

Gerard Beale earlier finished off a wonderful move with a try on the stroke of halftime to level the scores.

Sam Perrett was the architect, leaping high above Billy Slater to haul in a Benji Marshall bomb and offload to Issac Luke.

Luke’s cut-out pass found Dean Whare who put Beale over in the left corner.

North Queensland prop James Tamou looked to have given Australia the advantage at the break with a fine try, before the Kiwis hit back.

New Zealand started strongly, Perrett going close to opening the scoring after Tony Williams had knocked on before Luke dived out of dummy-half to break the deadlock after seven minutes.

Tim Sheens’ men looked sluggish and struggled to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges as the tourists controlled the game.

However, a forward pass from Luke handed the ball over and allowed the Kangaroos to finally exert some pressure.

David Shillington and Matt Scott, who was named man of the match, both made big hit-ups to move the ball downfield and Cooper Cronk almost put Brett Morris over with a kick to the corner.

Scott, playing in front of his home crowd, then made a fantastic break and skipper Cameron Smith ghosted past two defenders and over the line to get his side on the board.

Thurston missed the conversion but was on hand to apply the extras to Tamou’s try, after the giant frontrower sidestepped two tackles to find the line.

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