Kiwis upset Meninga's new-look Australian side

Kiwis upset Meninga's new-look Australian side

At a time when New Zealand were being pegged as vulnerable and in danger of being usurped by Tonga, they produced a rousing 26-24 rugby league Test victory over Australia on Saturday.

After the retirement of a golden generation of players including Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, the Aussies have shown they are beatable.

Meninga says he will resist any calls to ring in changes, promising to stick solid with the same 17 that lost to New Zealand.

"I love the attitude; I loved the way they kept hanging in; I loved the way we almost won the footy game", Meninga said.

"That's a footy thing".

Eighteen months after Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor's illicit substance scandal threatened to kill off their Kiwis careers, Michael Maguire has highlighted them as representative of the side's rebuild.

"That's a really strong win for the boys for where we are at the moment", Maguire said.

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"Moving forward to the Tongan game we've got to make sure we complete nice and high. We just need to be disciplined and give ourselves the best chance".

The Australians scored two late tries through Felise Kaufusi and James Tedesco for a tense final two minutes however the scoreline belied the Kiwis' dominance.

Australia led 12-8 at half-time, but New Zealand started the second half like a rocket. The momentum continued to build for the home side and it was Shaun Johnson who turned on the footwork and drew in the Australian defence and the ball ended up with Esan Marsters who scored to put the home team more than a converted try ahead.

In addition, new skipper Greg Inglis was absent through suspension, a host of other big names were absent and Luke Keary - one of four debutants - was forced off early on after suffering a blow to the head.

"It's unbelievable, surreal", said Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who was captaining New Zealand for the first time.

Kiwis centre Joseph Manu scored his first Test try in the 35th minute after forcing his way through the defence of Mitchell and Holmes but halfback Johnson again missed the conversion.

Down at halftime, the Kiwis rallied to secure a famous win over their trans-Tasman foes, ending the Kangaroos' 13-Test winning streak in the process - their first success over Australia since 2015.

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