New Zealand gave Australia their heaviest ever defeat and a rugby league lesson for the ages in a record-breaking 30-0 Pacific Cup final win in Hamilton.
It was the biggest losing margin in Australia’s Test history, surpassing the 24-point gap in 1952 and 2005 in wins also by the Kiwis.
From start to finish, and from fullback to the bench, the Kiwis were superior in every facet of play against a Kangaroos outfit that offered nothing in attack and appeared disinterested in defence.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said the result “hurt” and would be well received by the international rugby league world.
“Everyone loves to see us lose and we’ve done that,” Meninga said.
“We’ve made everyone happy. Obviously (the result) will shock the rugby league world in the manner we lost and the scoreline, but we will come back with redemption at the end of next year.
“We made heaps of errors. That is a reflection of how New Zealand played. They were the better side and deserved their victory.”
Kiwi lock Joseph Tapine led the pack like a colossus, and halves Dylan Brown and Jahrome Hughes controlled play at their leisure in the inaugural Pacific Cup.
Winger Jamayne Isaako scored a double to continue his incredible year.
As a collective this was New Zealand at their best in their first win over Australia since 2018.
“You never think a Test match is going to be 30-0, but there is something special within this group,” Kiwis coach Michael Maguire said.
Winger Ronaldo Mulitalo started and finished a sensational length-of-the-field movement by the Kiwis in the 14th minute. The Cronulla flyer initially made a line-break, and two plays later was on the end of a perfectly weighted Brown cut-out pass.
Mulitalo was on fire throughout the first half with his running game, but also unleashed a ferocious ball-and-all tackle on opposite number Valentine Holmes when the Kangaroos winger looked threatening.
Brown and Hughes were on song in combination in the opening stanza. Hughes linked with fullback and man of the match Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to send in-form winger Isaako over in the corner for a fabulous team try on the cusp of halftime.
The hosts had five line-breaks to one in the first half and were powered up front by Tapine and bench forward Leo Thompson.
Starting Kiwis props Moses Leota and James Fisher-Harris outplayed Kangaroos duo Payne Haas and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
Australia missed 34 tackles in the first half and had no intensity in their play.
They were just as bad in the second stanza.
After the break Isaako finished a scrum move in the corner when a floating Hughes ball caught Australia short. The Dolphins flyer put the ball down one millimetre inside the touch-in-goal line in a sublime piece of skill to give the Kiwis a 16-0 lead.
Brown was at his lethal best when his soft hands put barnstorming centre Matt Timoko over under the posts, before bench forward Griffin Neame bulldozed past Nicho Hynes and James Tedesco to embarrass the threadbare Kangaroos defence.