New Zealand stunned nine-time winners Australia in the Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane. Despite walking into the final as underdogs, the Kiwis overpowered the home side to win 34-20.
New Zealand won the Rugby League World Cup when they stunned Australia 34-20 in a massive upset at the Brisbane final on Saturday.
Trailing 16-12 at the break, the New Zealanders overpowered the highly fancied Australians in the second period to run out convincing winners.
The Kiwis scored six tries to four, including a crucial penalty try with just over 10 minutes remaining that broke the hearts of the home side.
Australia had dominated the tournament and were overwhelming favourites heading into the match.
But they were outplayed by a more enthusiastic and more composed New Zealand side, who had gone down to Australia 30-6 in the pool stage.
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said the period after halftime was where the game was decided.
"We didn't need to score in those first 15 minutes, but we couldn't let them score," he said.
"After that we dragged them into an arm wrestle and things went our way."
Australia took a 10-0 lead with international player of the year Billy Slater brillianlty setting up spectacular tries for skipper Darren Lockyer and winger David Williams.
Lockyer had the chance to make it 16-0 but dropped the ball over the line when a try seemed certain and New Zealand hit back with tries by Jeremy Smith and Jerome Ropati to make it 12-10.
Lockyer restored Australia's lead with his second try before the break but New Zealand took command when Lance Hohaia touched down to put them ahead again and five-eighth Benji Marshall intercepted a wayward Slater pass to score out wide.
Australia came back with a try to Greg Inglis, but with 10 minutes to go winger Joel Monaghan tackled Hohaia without the ball and the referee awarded a penalty try to the Kiwis, who added a try by Adam Blair in the closing minutes.
Date created : 2008-11-22