Australia have taken out the 2016 Four Nations tournament by dismantling New Zealand 34-8 at Liverpool’s famed Anfield Stadium.
The Kangaroos’ first Four Nations win since 2011 ensured the perfect start to Mal Meninga’s career as Australian coach.
The Kiwis were looking to respond from their embarrassing 18-all draw with Scotland last weekend but had no answers for the Kangaroos.
At one point deep into the first half the Kiwis were completing sets well under 40 per cent in a fair reflection of their struggles.
At game’s end, Kangaroos halfback Cooper Cronk was named Player of the Tournament.
It didn’t take long for Australia to get the ball rolling after winger Blake Ferguson scored from a simple scrum play within the first three minutes.
Kangaroos fullback and eventual Man of the Match Darius Boyd earned his second try assist of the day when he put centre Josh Dugan over in the 15th minute.
Johnathan Thurston put Australia two converted tries ahead when he kicked a penalty goal two minutes later.
The wizardry of Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith was on show next when he helped lock Trent Merrin cross for an easy try in the 21st minute past Kiwis duo Kevin Proctor and Jason Taumalolo.
Another Thurston penalty goal in the 28th minute was followed by Dugan’s second try five minutes later when he beat centre counterpart Solomone Kata to a Thurston grubber.
The Kangaroos extended their 24-0 half-time lead when Darius Boyd scored in controversial circumstances in the 45th minute – where it appeared he failed to get the ball down.
Things became worse before they got better for New Zealand when winger Jordan Rapana left the field for a head test in the 50th minute.
Two tries to New Zealand fullback Jordan Kahu in the 56th and 68th minute offered the Kiwis a glimmer of hope but that was ultimately put to bed once Boyd Cordner had his say.
The Kangaroos back-rower powered his way over in the final seven minutes to seal Australia’s tournament victory.
Australia 34 (Josh Dugan 2, Blake Ferguson, Trent Merrin, Darius Boyd, Boyd Cordner tries; Johnathan Thurston 5 goals) defeated New Zealand 8 (Jordan Kahu 2 tries) at Anfield, Liverpool. Crowd: 40,042. Half-time: Australia 24-0.