PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
11 hours ago
Australia produced a stunning first half display to recapture both the Four Nations title and the number one ranking in front of 40,042 fans at Anfield tonight.
It was a dominant performance from the opening whistle from the Australians. They forced a knock on from Solomone Kata in the opening set which set up a scrum play for Blake Ferguson to cross and were never headed by a error strewn Kiwi side.
Josh Dugan registered himself a first half double - first he ran through a gaping hole from Man of the Match Darius Boyd with his second coming from a deft Thurston grubber which gave us the 24-nil halftime score.
Trent Merrin continued his impressive Four Nations campaign with a short range effort from a Cameron Smith short ball. Australia had a 90% completion rate in the first half and it showed as the Kiwis were forced to play catch up all through the game.
They took their foot off the pedal in the second half, as New Zealand restored some pride as they registered two tries through Bronco Jordan Kahu. The selection gamble of Thou Harris at five-eighth seemed to heap more pressure on Shaun Johnson who had a forgettable game and a Four Nations as a whole.
Both Darius Boyd and Boyd Cordner notched second half scores as Australia romped their way back to the top of the RLIF rankings and importantly, they took home the Four Nations trophy. Halfback Cooper Cronk was named Player of the Tournament afterwards.