New Zealand Rugby League

By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 2/12/13

Defeated New Zealand Stephen Kearney has heaped praise on the Kangaroos after they comprehensively crushed his Kiwi side 34-2 in the World Cup final.

In the press conference after the match Kearney was clearly impressed with the clinical show the Australians put on in Manchester.

“Australia’s performance today was nothing short of outstanding,” he said. 

“We just couldn’t get ourselves into the contest. The pressure that they mounted – we were hanging on there but some of their last tackle finishes, they came up with points particularly in that first half. I thought their performance was pretty faultless, so they gave us a real lesson.

“We had to bring our best game today and I don’t think we did that. Australia didn’t allow us to play like that. The way they played took a lot of that out of us. If we weren’t going to bring our best game today, against Australia, it was always going to be tough.”

New Zealand were largely flat throughout the game but captain Simon Mannering didn’t think the big occasion got to his team. 

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I know the guys were up for it, they were excited. [But] We went away from our strengths, of going through the middle and support, instead we were doing a lot of one-out runners. They were slowing us done pretty good. We were far too loose from the middle. We probably didn’t threaten them too many times but that’s credit to their defence.”

Kearney said he couldn’t fault the way this World Cup has been run.

“I think its been a real credit to the English game the way they’ve organised it, the type of football that’s been played, the crowds that have turned up,” he said. “Every game that we’ve had it’s been pretty much full.”