Australia limbered up for the Four Nations Rugby league campaign with a dominant performance, brushing aside New Zealand 42-6 in Newcastle on Sunday.
On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, the Kangaroos took advantage of the dry conditions at Ausgrid Stadium to rip through the world champions, with debutante Akuila Uate, Darius Boyd and Chris Lawrence each scoring doubles.
Retiring skipper Darren Lockyer was at the heart of everything in his final game on Australian soil in front of a sell out crowd, before being rested for the final 15 minutes by coach Tim Sheens.
The Kiwis, with five debutants in their side, struggled terribly in defence, and found themselves 26-0 down at halftime.
Lockyer, who has spent the last month recovering from a shattered cheekbone, saw his surgeons handy work put to the test in the opening minute of the game by the forearm of Russell Packer.
Packer’s first contribution as an international player was to be placed on report by English referee Phil Bentham, and he is now in danger of finding himself on the sidelines for the Four Nations opener between the sides in Warrington on October 28.
Lockyer showed no ill effects from the brutal challenge to set-up local favourite Uate following a good burst from Willie Tonga, with Uate opening the scoring in the fourth minute.
Uate added his second, capping a memorable debut, shortly after as the Kangaroos cut through the Kiwis with alarming ease.
The Newcastle winger should have completed his hat-trick in the seventh minute only to drop the ball with the line at his mercy.
In his 35th game as Australian skipper, Lockyer played a part in his sides’ third try with a looping pass to Billy Slater who found Boyd in the left corner.
Lawrence, who scored a try on his international debut last year, added two more to his tally before the break as Sheens’ side affectively sealed the victory before the interval with some exhilarating play that bodes well for their tour of theUK.
The Kiwis looked more disciplined after the break, and cut the deficit when fullback Kevin Locke marked his debut with a try early in the second half following a powerful run from Packer.
However, it proved to be only a minor setback for the hosts with prop Keith Galloway crashing over from close range before Tonga and Boyd added some extra gloss to a resounding display from the Kangaroos.
by Buford Balony