Australia have edged New Zealand 16-14 and booked their place in the World Cup final thanks to a late Cam Murray try in Leeds.

The Kangaroos had to dig deep and fight back twice to break Kiwi hearts and secure their spot at Old Trafford.

Elland Road was captivated by a bruising, high-quality contest that had everything.

New Zealand started the match impressively and took the lead after just 10 minutes.

Dylan Brown launched a dangerous bomb, Joey Manu soared high and then found Jahrome Hughes with an offload to score.

Jordan Rapana added the extras to make it 6-0.

But the lead didn’t last long, the Aussies responded in amazing fashion.

Ben Hunt’s kick to the corner to Josh Addo-Carr was perfect for the winger to cross and equal Valentine Holmes’ World Cup record haul of 12 tries.

Nathan Cleary’s kick tied it up at 6-6.

But the Kiwis weren’t done, and a Rapana penalty goal gave them the lead back.

The Kangaroos poked themselves back in front when Holmes touched down after a cheeky pass from Jack Wighton.

Then New Zealand hit back again, Ronaldo Mulitalo setting up Dylan Brown on the inside to score.

Rapana converted it to give his team a vital 14-10 lead at half-time.

In the second half, Peta Hiku had a try disallowed for offside.

The crucial moment came at 53 minutes when Murray struck.

The second-rower put his head down and ran through three defenders to score a brilliant try between the sticks.

Cleary converted, and the Aussies were two points ahead.

Hiku had another try disallowed by the video referee when the ball hit the touchline as he grounded it with eight minutes left.

There would be no miracle comeback for the men in black as the Kangaroos held on and claimed victory.

Australia 16

Tries: J. Addo-Carr (16), V. Holmes (30), C. Murray (53)

Goals: N. Cleary (18), N. Cleary (55)

New Zealand 14

Tries: J. Hughes (11), D. Brown (37)

Goals: J. Rapana (13), J. Rapana (26), J. Rapana (39)

John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.