Australia has defeated World Champions New Zealand 20-10 at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.
This was a really interesting game, a true test match, and I think it showed a lot of the strengths and weaknesses of both sides.
Overall, Australia always seemed to have the upper hand in the game, especially in the first 20 minutes. As we have seen in recent years though, they just seemed unable to put the sword to the Kiwi’s.
New Zealand didn’t panic, they looked calm even under pressure, and you got the feeling that with just a 10-6 halftime lead, the Kiwi’s felt a lot more comfortable about where they were than Australia did.
As the second half started to be played out, it looked like the Kiwi’s would run over the top of Australia, but at the end of the day, turnovers killed the Kiwi’s.
Once upon a time, this game would have ended 40-10 in Australia’s favour, but the Kangaroo’s just don’t have the same killer instinct they once have. Watching them play, they don’t seem to have a real focus in attack like they once did. You don’t see them find a crack in someone defense and just murder the opposition all night with it.
New Zealand will take a hell of a lot out of this game. They made some terrible errors and never really got punished for too many of them. If they had cut out the errors, they really shouyld have gone on and won this game.
As I said, it was a really interesting test match.
Paul Gallen got the man of the match award and was just unbelievable. Both in defense and in attack, he was clearly the best player on the park.
The Australian back row in general played well but I thought up front we were well beaten by New Zealand. Matt Scott played well but I thought Snowden and Civoniceva in particular were dominated by their opposition.
In the halves, Lockyer played well but I thought Thurston was really quiet. I think Australia would be better suited playing Cooper Cronk in the halves, I think his ability to direct the team around the park and his brilliant kicking game would be better suited to what Australia needs at test level.
An injury to Greg Inglis in the first half allowed a lot of game time for Jamal Idris which will have been good for his development as a player. He mentioned after the game how fast it was, faster than any football he’s ever played. He had a mixed game, but overall did enough to suggest he is worth another selection.
Jaral Yow Yeh was impressive in his debut. As the game wore on you could see him stepping his game up. He showed he belonged, and that the most you can ask for a young bloke in his first test match.
The Kiwi’s left a lot of good players out for this game and I think small things like the having Frank Pritchard on the bench and a fully fit Greg Eastwood, it will be adding a whole lot to the Kiwi’s ability to put points on the board.
Overall, it wasn’t a classic test, but it was a decent enough game. You have to applaud both sides for coming together on a five day preparation and being able to match up so well. It makes you wonder, if we played this game after the State Of Origin series, and if the Kiwi’s played three previous test matches as written into my season calender from yesterday, the contest both sides would put on would be immense!
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