Top five Kiwis wins over the Kangaroos

What's Fresh 05/05/2017

The age-old rivalry that is New Zealand against Australia has produced some scintillating rugby league contests over the years.

While our neighbours hold a significant advantage in the record books, that's only added larger doses of satisfaction to any victory for Kiwis fans.

Whet your appetite for what should be another hard-fought Anzac Test by reliving some of our finest triumphs.

5. North Harbour – October 2003

The Kiwis entered the 100th trans-Tasman Test match as heavier underdogs than usual, missing multiple players in crucial positions.

Stacey Jones was ruled out by injury leaving them without a kicker, joined by Paul Rauhihi, Logan Swann, and David Vaeliki, while suspension prevented Stephen Kearney from taking any part.

Coach Daniel Anderson looked to a 17-year-old Thomas Leuluai to step in and direct proceedings in Jones' absence, while Ruben Wiki was promoted to the helm.

Inspired by the sight of debutant Louis Anderson shedding tears as he took the field, Wiki would lead a makeshift side back from an early 0-10 deficit to an unlikely 30-16 triumph in front of a rabid Albany stadium crowd.

Leuluai ultimately had a hand in four of the Kiwis' six tries, while Clinton Toopi terrorised the Kangaroos centres with a hat-trick of tries.

4. Anzac Test, North Harbour - 1998

It was another depleted Kiwis team which took the park at North Harbour Stadium for just the second ever Anzac Test.

Stephen Kearney was under another suspension cloud, Syd Eru, Tony Puletua, and Gene Ngamu were deemed unfit, and the situation only went from bad to worse once the contest got underway.

Injuries saw numerous Kiwis players forced to the sidelines as the Kangaroos jumped out to 12-2 lead courtesy of two Terry Hill tries - Richie Barnett suffering a broken hand while John Lomax was carted off in a neck brace.

Two quick tries to Sean Hoppe and Terry Hermansson immediately following halftime edged the locals into the lead, before Kevin Iro put the result beyond doubt with his second try of the match in the 78th minute, giving New Zealand their first ever victory in an Anzac Test.

Coach Frank Endacott's tactic to target young Kangaroo's debutant Darren Lockyer paid off with the young fullback having a day to forget, especially under the high ball. You could probably say he shook it off fairly well.

3. Melbourne - 1991

The first rugby league Test ever held in the Victorian capital of Melbourne delivered on all counts, particularly if you were a Kiwis fan.

It had been a lean four years without a win over the green and golds, and the hosts were eager to give 'King' Wally Lewis a fitting send-off in his final Test match for his country.

But on this night it wasn't to be, as a Kiwis attack guided by the mercurial Gary Freeman and spearheaded by a sparkling man of the match display from Jarrod McCracken saw the New Zealanders capture a memorable 24-8 win.

2. Tri-Nations Final – 2005

Fresh off some unconvincing performances, in particular a six tries to three rout by Great Britain, the Kiwis went into the tournament final at Elland Rd as rank outsiders.

Nobody told that to Stacey Jones.

Coming out of international retirement for one last stint in black, 'The Little General' had only stepped off a flight from Auckland the day before after returning home for the birth of his third child and proceeded to celebrate with a vintage performance, setting up two of the side's tries on the way to a dominant 24-0 victory.

"Bloody oath," an ecstatic Jones said post-match. "I didn't even know what day it was."

Ruben Wiki was in typically rampaging mood, leading a Kiwis pack which steamrolled their opposites while maintaining a clean try-line, the Kangaroos struggling to cope with their frightening combination of size and mobility.

The win broke a 27-year Australian stranglehold on the international game, not since 1978 had they lost a series of any kind.

1. World Cup Final, Brisbane - 2008

Expectations weren't high for the Kiwis heading into the World Cup Final in 2008.

In pool play just a few weeks earlier they'd been demolished by the very Kangaroos side they now faced in the tournament's finale, a team many were calling their strongest of all time.

What transpired was a landmark day for New Zealand rugby league that left a 50,000-strong Suncorp Stadium crowd stunned and Australia's aura of invincibility shattered.

The visitors missing several key players, Benji Marshall stepped to the fore to produce a couple of moments of trademark magic which, alongside the help of some monumental gaffes by recently-named player of the tournament Billy Slater, saw Nathan Cayless hoist the world cup for the first time.

The stirring sight of the squad rollicking the podium while chanting to the strains of Dave Dobbyn, Issac Luke leading a fearsome celebratory haka - unforgettable scenes that will long reign in the annals of NZ sporting lore.

All images courtesy of Getty

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