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Australia 28-12 New Zealand

Australia (22) 28
Tries: Gasnier 2, Gallen, Smith, Folau Goals: Thurston 4
New Zealand (0) 12
Tries: Soliola, Perrett Goals: Smith, Luke

Paul Gallen evades Brent Webb to score for Australia
Cronulla's Paul Gallen touched down on Test debut in the first half

A five-try performance ensured Australia commemorated the centennial Test match against New Zealand with victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Centre Mark Gasnier touched down twice while tries from Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith ensured the world champions were 22-0 up at half time.

The Kiwis hit back through Iosia Soliola, but teenage winger Israel Folau extended Australia's lead.

New Zealand grabbed an 80th-minute consolation try through Sam Perrett.

The players and the 34,571-strong crowd observed a minute's silence before kick-off in memory of the legendary Australian coach Jack Gibson, who died at the age of 79 after a long illness on Friday.

But it was straight down to business for the Kangaroos once the match got under way, with Gasnier scoring twice in the first 15 minutes to put The Kangaroos in control.

Sonny Bill Williams
Our last 60 minutes showed what we're capable of

New Zealand forward Sonny Bill Williams
Gasnier's spectacular first try came in the sixth minute when winger Greg Inglis leapt way over the dead-ball line to tap back for his team-mate to touch down.

The next try came after the home side exploited an overlap on the blind side from a play-the-ball to allow the St George Illawarra Dragons star to score from close range.

Gallen barged over for a try on his Test debut and skipper Smith burrowed over from dummy half to make it 22-0 in the 22nd minute.

The four-try blitz brought back uncomfortable New memories for New Zealand of last year's 58-0 thrashing.

But the visitors got on the scoreboard three minutes after the break when Soliola scored, and his side - inspired by Sonny Bill Williams - responded with a strong spell of pressure.

Australia held out though, and put the result beyond doubt when Jonathan Thurston's pinpoint kick found Justin Hodges out wide and the centre put Folau away for the try.

Soliola set up a try for Perrett in the right corner in the last play of the game to narrow the gap to a respectable level, which will leave New Zealand hopeful for the World Cup later this year.

"For 60 minutes, I was very, very happy; for 20 minutes, I wasn't," said new Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney.

"That first 20 minutes wasn't good enough."

Williams agreed with his coach's assessment that a lax opening to the match had cost his side any real chance of springing an upset.

"The first 20 minutes cost us," said Williams.

"Our last 60 minutes showed what we're capable of. We've just got to work on that before the World Cup."

Australia coach Ricky Stuart said his side had set out to make a strong start.

"We got the jump on them," said Stuart.

"We wanted to ambush their enthusiasm and we wanted to ambush their energy."

The SCG was chosen to host the match because it was the venue for the first Test match between the two rivals in 1908, when New Zealand edged Australia 11-10.

Australia: Billy Slater; Greg Inglis, Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Israel Falou; Greg Bird, Johnathan Thurston; Brent Kite, Cameron Smith (capt), Petero Civoniceva, Paul Gallen, Ryan Hoffman, Michael Crocker
Replacements: Carl Webb, Anthony Tupou, Willie Mason, Kurt Gidley,

New Zealand: Brent Webb; Jason Nightingale, Setaimata Sa, Iosia Soliola, Sam Perrett; Lance Hohaia, Thomas Leuluai; Roy Asotasi (capt), Issac Luke, Nathan Cayless, Sonny Bill Williams, Simon Mannering, David Fa'alogo.
Replacements: Jeremy Smith, Dene Halatau, Adam Blair, Frank Pritchard.

see also
Leeds and Wigan to lose Kiwi pair
02 May 08 |  Rugby League
Lockyer faces long injury lay-off
14 Jul 07 |  Rugby League
Raging Aussies thrash New Zealand
14 Oct 07 |  Rugby League

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