In a scary thought for Australia, New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney believed his team were just scratching the surface of their potential after their 26-12 trans-Tasman Test win in Brisbane on Sunday.
Kiwi captain Simon Mannering refused to admit that his side had the wood on Australia after claiming their first mid-year Test win since 1998 to make in three in a row against the Kangaroos.
“We haven’t done well in this Test for a long time – it was good to clear that record,” Mannering said.
“As a group we still see Australia as the benchmark, they have been consistent over a long period of time.
“We feel as a group we have a long way to go but we will enjoy tonight.”
Kearney hinted that Mannering may soon have no option but to acknowledge their standing after claiming there was plenty of improvement left in his champion side.
Australia arrived at Suncorp Stadium with a team beefed up with nine big name changes to the injury-hit team that lost the 2014 Four Nations final to New Zealand.
Yet the Kiwis convincingly triumphed over Australia with a team without the injured Jason Taumalolo, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Alex Glenn and the suspended Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
“I am really excited,” Kearney said of his team’s future.
“We are a young group with some real talent in there.
“We have to give them the opportunity to play together.
“There are some real exciting times ahead of us.
“It’s just a matter of managing that correctly and reaching our potential.”
Then there is the age difference between the two teams.
The Australian spine’s average age is 30 – the Kiwis’ is 24.
And the spirit in the Kiwi side was evident when Australia’s frustration boiled over in the 38th minute.
After Greg Inglis gave away a penalty, New Zealand reserve Martin Taupau yelled at the Roos No.1 before making a throat slitting gesture.
“He’s passionate, did a great job for us but he got a bit carried away there – that’s not our go,” Mannering said.
Hulking winger Manu Vatuvei became the first recipient of the Charles Savory Medal as man of the match.