A JUMP UP: Kangaroos debutant Jamal Idris celebrates after scoring a second half try during the Anzac Test match between Australia and New Zealand at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast, Friday, May 6, 2011. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Billy Slater scored a double – his second 13-minutes from time to seal the result – with debutants Jamal Idris and Jharal Yow Yeh also crossing the stripe for the Kangaroos, leaving New Zealand still without a win in the mid-year Test since 1998.
Not in his worst nightmare could Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney have conjured up a worse start, the visitors left with just 16 fit bodies after the first tackle of the match with Sam Rapira suffering a broken finger.
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Slater then gave the Kangaroos a 6-0 lead with less than 90 seconds gone after Lance Hohaia horribly misjudged a Lockyer bomb.
Things weren’t going all the home side’s way either with Idris given his first taste of Test football when Greg Inglis limped off with a hip injury.
Idris didn’t take long to get involved as he dragged Jason Nightingale over the sideline.
Lockyer – playing his final Test in his home state – then combined with Paul Gallen to put debutant winger Yow Yeh over in the corner.
Dropped balls stymied Australia’s bid to put the foot on the throat and the man who engineered the New Zealand’s stunning comeback win in last year’s Four Nations final Benji Marshall again made his presence felt with a crucial stripped ball off Johnathan Thurston.
The ball eventually came the way of Lewis Brown – a late call-up after Greg Eastwood was scratched from the bench – who brushed off three defenders before finding a flying Matt Duffie who touched down on debut.
The Kiwis came out composed after the break as they mounted pressure on the Australian line – but their spirit seemed to break when Hohaia dropped a pass at first receiver with the backline standing deep for a set play.
Yow Yeh missed out on a double by centimetres when he showed tremendous athleticism to get to a Hodgeskick, but the Kiwis gave themselves no chance when five straight sets ended with a dropped ball.
The last proved to be the beginning of the end with Bronson Harrison’s fumble landing at Ben Hannant’s feet, Hannant flipping the ball to Slater who raced 70 metres for his second and a 16-4 lead.
Idris confirmed the result when he crashed over nine minutes from time, Hohaia giving the large Kiwi contingent in the 26,301 crowd something to celebrate with a try on the siren.
Lockyer said the match was not about his farewell, but rather about the team getting one back on the Kiwis after last year’s loss.
"At the moment I feel pretty happy about the win, I don’t think it all sinks in until the season’s over," Lockyer said.
"Coming here tonight, what was important for me was for the team to perform and I did my job and we can all go home happy."
Marshall was proud of the way his side stayed with the Australians until late in the game.
"We gave ourselves every chance, we got ourselves back in the game," Marshall said.
"We dropped too much ball, the boys hung in, there’s a lot to look forward to.
"It’s disappointing to lose, but they scored off a couple of crucial errors.
"You can’t give a good side that much ball, especially with Lockyer and Thurston in the team."
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