Skipper Dallin Watene Zelezniak was brilliant for the Kiwis.
Skipper Dallin Watene Zelezniak was brilliant for the Kiwis.

Player ratings: DWZ sizzles as Kangaroos fizzle in Kiwis’ boilover

KIWIS fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak produced a brilliant debut as New Zealand skipper to lead his side to a thrilling 26-24 victory over the Kangaroos.

The New Zealand captain was everywhere for the hosts, matching Kangaroos' fullback James Tedesco in a brilliant battle between the two.

Latrell Mitchell and clubmate Joseph Manu produced a mesmerising match up, with the Kiwis debutant getting the better of a fascinating duel.

Roosters' premiership hero Luke Keary had an unlucky debut to forget, after he was knocked out in the first half.

In his absence Daly Cherry-Evans failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and Ben Hunt struggled to fill Keary's shoes off the bench.

 

Read on for the full player ratings for the Kiwis and Kangaroos.

 

KIWIS

1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (c) 9

Set up first try with a through the legs miracle ball. Was denied a brilliant try near halftime. Ran for 139 metres and looked dangerous all night.

2. Ken Maumalo 7

Crossed for the Kiwis' first try and was denied another in the first half. Ran for 128 metres.

3. Esan Marsters 7

Had a quiet first 40 on debut. Finished off an excellent try in the second half.

4. Joseph Manu 8

Struggled defensively early, but was potent in attack and scored the Kiwis' second. Set up a brilliant try for Jordan Rapana. Outpointed opposite number Latrell Mitchell.

5. Jordan Rapana 7

Lack of opportunities on the flank, but went looking for work out of dummy half. Finished with 127 quality metres.

6. Shaun Johnson 8

Looked dangerous playing one wider at No.6. Set up a stunning try for Esan Marsters with some silky footwork. Finished with a linebreak and two try assists. Man-of-the-match performance.

7. Kodi Nikorima 6

Had limited opportunities, but gave Johnson plenty of good early ball to work his magic. Worked hard in defence.

8. Jesse Bromwich 7

Busy in his return to Test football. Finished with 137 run metres in a brilliant partnership with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

9. Brandon Smith 7

Solid defensively early. Scored an excellent try out of dummy half and nearly had a second.

10. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9

Led the Kiwis from the front with some inspired charges. Ran for 179 metres, the most of any player on the field.

11. Kevin Proctor 6

Struggled to make his usual impact in the first in attack. Solid in defence.

12. Isaac Liu 8

Defensively sound with a number of strong runs. Finished with 135 run metres and did a mountain of work.

13. James Fisher-Harris 7

Excellent in both attack and defence. Held the side together in the middle.

Interchange:

14. Kenny Bromwich 3

Limited minutes off the bench.

15. Leeson Ah Mau 7

Had a number of strong charges off the pine. Defensively perfect.

16. Martin Taupau 8

Lifted the intensity off the bench in the first half. Gave away a crucial penalty on the fifth tackle that nearly led to a try. Finished with 117 metres and put on a number of brutal hits.

17. Adam Blair 5

Made the most of his limited opportunities in his 46th Test match.

 

 

KANGAROOS

1. James Tedesco 7

Busy early with two linebreak assists. Looked dangerous every time he touched the ball. Scored a late try to give the Kangaroos a chance to steal it.

2. Dane Gagai 6

Struggled defensively early. Broke the game open with a try on halftime. Spilt a ball from Trbojevic with the Kangaroos on attack.

3. Latrell Mitchell 8

Set up first try for Valentine Holmes. Brilliant with ball in hand, but had some defensive lapses on Joesph Manu. Finished with 162 run metres, three linebreaks and two try assists.

4. Tom Trbojevic 6

Struggled to get into the game early. Set up a long range try for Dane Gagai on halftime. Missed his mark on a number of attacking plays.

5. Valentine Holmes 6

Scored the Kangaroos' first try, but looked out of place on the wing after a brilliant season at fullback.

6. Luke Keary 1

Knocked out in the 17th minute and did not return. Had two errors early in a tough debut.

7. Daly Cherry-Evans 6

Struggled in stepping up to take over after Keary went off early. Recovered to set up two linebreak assists, but his side needed more from him.

8. David Klemmer 6

Not the metre-eating performance we have been accustomed to this season, but solid as ever. Finished with 128 metres.

9. Damien Cook 5

Knocked on early and struggled to gain momentum out of dummy half. Replaced at hooker by Hunt with 16 minutes to go, despite Keary's injury. Came back on late and finished well.

10. Jordan McLean 3

Minimal impact early and replaced by Woods. Came back on, but lacked opportunities in attack.

11. Boyd Cordner (c) 6

Scrambled well defensively and led from the front. Not his best game in attack, but solid as ever.

12. Felise Kaufusi 7

Busy in defence, but lacked punch in attack. Scored a try to give the Kangaroos a faint hope late.

13. Josh McGuire 4

Struggled to get involved with ball in hand, but defensively as tough as ever.

Interchange:

14. Ben Hunt 3

Struggled to take the reins when he came on for Keary early. Costly error in the second half with Kangaroos on attack. Three missed tackles.

15. Jake Trbojevic 5

Provided impact and enthusiasm off the bench. Needed more opportunities with ball in hand.

16. Tyson Frizell 5

Surprising lack of minutes in the first half. made an impact with his limited minutes.

17. Aaron Woods 5

Defensively strong off the bench, but his offloading game went missing.



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