By Paul Fletcher
BBC Sport at KC Stadium
A superb second-half comeback by Great Britain ensured they go into next Saturday's final against Australia on the back of three successive victories.
Great Britain: (4) 26
Tries: Senior, Carney 2, Farrell, Johnson
Goals: Farrell 3
New Zealand: (12) 24
Tries: V. Anderson, Vagana, Chan, Hape
Goals: Webb 4
Tries from Vinnie Anderson and Nigel Vangana sandwiched Keith Senior's try to give the Kiwis a 12-4 interval lead.
But a Brian Carney brace and one each from Andy Farrell and Paul Johnson took GB clear before Alex Chan hit back.
Shontayne Hape scored with minutes left but GB held on to finish top of the Tri-Nations group stage.
It was a far from convincing first-half showing from GB, who will need to
recapture their best form if they are to win the final at Elland Road.
Brian Noble will be looking for a more secure defensive display against the
Kangaroos, although his team once again demonstrated the attacking threat
GB worked the ball out wide superbly, with new half-back pairing of Iestyn
Harris and Danny McGuire producing some brilliant flat passes.
But hooker Matt Diskin, making his debut, had little opportunity to stake
his claim for a place in the final, limping off with a leg injury midway
though the first-half.
The home team were the first to threaten the goal-line after a break from Harris took GB close to the New Zealand try line.
McGuire opted to run from the resulting move but he was held up inches from the line.
Adrian Morley burst through the Kiwi defensive line from inside his own half
after 20 minutes but did not have the legs to carry the ball 70 yards and
the move broke down.
And for all GB's enterprising play some lacklustre tackling culminated in
the visitors scoring first.
Anderson got the Kiwis off to a great start in Hull
Paul Rauhihi should have been wrapped up but his off-load reached Ali
Lauitiiti via Sean O'Loughlin's hand.
Leeds forward Lauitiiti broke through the GB defence and passed for Anderson
to score under the posts.
Brent Webb added the simple conversion but a blistering move soon brought the
home team back into the game.
Two brilliant long passes out to the left from Harris and McGuire stretched
the Kiwi defence and Senior scored in the corner.
Andy Farrell narrowly missed the conversion but the momentum was with GB and
it took some excellent goal-line defence to prevent Brian Noble's men taking the
Chev Walker was held up over the line and the Kiwi rearguard was rewarded
when more poor tackling allowed Vagana to extend his team's lead.
Webb's simple conversion was the final act of the half.
But New Zealand have struggled badly in the second-half during the Tri-Nations and GB scored within minutes of the re-start when Carney touched down in the corner.
The move had started when the winger broke 60 yards downfield and he was on
hand to score several plays later after Martin Gleeson's sublime delayed pass
had drawn two defenders.
Inspirational skipper Farrell put GB ahead for the first time in the match
with a superb try, wrong-footing the Kiwi defence with a superb dummy before
Farrell, who had converted Carney's try, added another to put GB 16-12
The hosts extended their advantage when another sweeping move out to the right
after 58 minutes was finished in the corner by Carney, although Farrell
missed the conversion.
Carney was involved in another break minutes later, his inside pass allowing
Johnson to score as GB took control of the match.
Chan then touched down for the visitors while Rauhihi continued to make bulldozing runs down the middle.
But it was GB who had control of the match and Carney was bundled into touch
just yards short of his hat-trick.
Hape's late try followed by Webb's conversion reduced the deficit to two points but they could not create another score.
Great Britain: Wellens, Carney, Gleeson, Senior, Reardon,
Harris, McGuire, Fielden, Diskin, Morley, Ellis, Farrell,
Replacements: Higham, Walker, Johnson, Ward.
New Zealand: Webb, Meli, Vagana, Toopi, Hape, V. Anderson,
Leuluai, J. Cayless, L. Anderson, Rauhihi, Swann, Lauitiiti,
Replacements: Halatau, Asotasi, N. Cayless, Chan.
Referee: Tim Mander (Australia)