As it happened: Late Kiwis surge not enough against dominant Kangaroos

The Kangaroos have held on only just, edging the Kiwis 14-8 this morning at Ricoh Arena, Coventry.

FULLTIME - Kiwis 8 Australia 14

78 mins: Kiwis 8 Australia 14

TRY! Jordan Rapana scores a beautiful try set up by the magic man himself Shaun Johnson. Johnson misses the conversion.

70 mins: Kiwis 4 Australia 14

62 mins: Kiwis 4 Australia 12

NO TRY! Blake Ferguson's try is disallowed with the touch judge ruling the final pass from Darius Boyd going forward.

57 mins: Kiwis 4 Australia 12

55 mins: Kiwis 4 Australia 10

48 mins: Kiwis 4 Australia 10

TRY! Solomone Kata powers his way over with a brilliant surging run carrying several Kangaroos players with him over the chalk. Shaun Johnson misses the shot at goal from out wide.

40 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

Adam Blair on the run from Michael Morgan and Johnathan Thurston
Trans Tasman NZRL Kiwis v Australia Test Match at Hunter Stadium, Newcastl,e Australia. Friday 6 May 2016. Photo: Paul Seiser / www.photosport.nz
Kiwis forward Adam Blair on the run from Kangaroos backs Michael Morgan and Johnathan Thurston. Source: Photosport

And we are back underway!

HALFTIME - Kiwis 0 Australia 10

37 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

KNOCK DOWN! Jordan Rapana pops up again saving the Kiwis from letting in another four-pointer. Putting his hand out and knocking the pill on after a Sam Thaiday offload.

33 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

FEND! Jordan Rapana manages to wriggle his way out of his own in-goal putting on a big palm on Kangaroos' winger Valentine Holmes. He saves his side from having to make a  goal-line drop out and defend. 

31 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

NO TRY! Desperate defence by Jordan Kahu stops Justin O'Neill from scoring a four-pointer for Australia. The TMO rules the centre lost control of the ball as he crossed the white line. 

30 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

MISTAKE! A rare mistake by star Kangaroos half Johnathan Thurston saves the Kiwis from leaking in another try. The NZ side has no answer to Australia's dominant attack.

25 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

21 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

INTERCEPT! Jordan Rapana makes an excellent break but Greg Inglis does enough to slow down the Kiwis winger with the Australian cover defence getting back in time to stop Rapana. But a poor pass from the Kiwis at dummy half forces Shaun Johnson to spill the ball - just as the Kiwis looked likely to score.

18 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

OUCH! Greg Inglis rattles Jordan Kahu with a massive spot tackle. The Kiwis fullback stays down with replays showing Inglis' shoulder making contact with Kahu's face.

12 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 10

TRY! Johnathan Thurston has scored a great try with the Kiwis struggling to contain the dominant Kangaroos.

The Cowboys' combination in the halves is proving to be lethal with Michael Morgan creating havoc in the lead up taking on the Kiwis line.

Before finding Blake Ferguson who is again involved in the Australian attack - linking up with Thurston who finishes things off for the green and golds. JT adds the extras and the Aussies lead 10-0. 

9 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 4

TRY! Kangaroos make the Kiwis pay through Blake Ferguson. The Aussies looking crisp opting for two back door plays before they find Ferguson lurking on the right edge - hitting him with a skip ball. The Roosters star showed great skill putting on a big right foot step to score the opening try of the match. Johnathan Thurston misses the conversion from out wide.

6 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 0

4 mins: Kiwis 0 Australia 0

Neither team looks very threatening, feeling each other out early in the opening five minutes of the match happy to just complete their sets. 

Kick-off: Kiwis 0 Australia 0

And we are underway with the Kangaroos kicking off to NZ.

PRE MATCH

Australia were comfortable winners the last time these two sides met, claiming a 26-6 victory in Perth. The Kiwis scraped a 17-16 win in their last outing, but will need to be on top of their game to beat the Kangaroos this time.

The defending Four Nations champs will be fielding an unchanged line-up to the one which went down to Australia 26-6 in Perth a fortnight ago. Source: 1 NEWS

Coach David Kidwell has had his hand forced, with injuries to Jason Nightingale and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. The Kiwis have named a strong side regardless, and will be hoping to make up ground on their trans-Tasman rivals. 

The Kangaroos have had a somewhat easy time of late. After their huge victory over the Kiwis in Perth, the Kangaroos romped to a 54-12 victory in their opening game against Scotland.

Coach Mal Meninga has raised eyebrows with his team selection, naming Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan ahead of James Maloney, who will appear from the bench. The Kangaroos can go a long way to securing another Four Nations crown with a victory tonight.

David Kidwell will come up against super-coach Wayne Bennett as the Kiwis look to get off to a winning start. Source: 1 NEWS

TEAMS:

Kiwis: 1. Jordan Kahu, 2. Gerard Beale, 3. Solomone Kata, 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Thomas Leuluai, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Jesse Bromwich (c), 9. Issac Luke, 10. Adam Blair, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown, 15. Martin Taupau, 16. Manu Ma'u, 17. Greg Eastwood.

Kangaroos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Justin O'Neill, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Trent Merrin.

Interchange: 14. David Klemmer, 15. Shannon Boyd, 16. Sam Thaiday, 17. James Maloney.


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Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita headline strong Mate Ma'a Tonga squad for Kangaroos Test

Mate Ma’a Tonga’s head coach Kristian Woolf has named a strong 29-man squad to take on the Kangaroos in a historic Test match in Auckland next month.

NRL powerhouses Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita headline a squad full of talent and stars.

The New Zealand Warriors have four players in the squad - wing David Fusitu’a, centre Solomone Kata and forwards Agnatius Paasi and Leviaha Pulu.

"We are very pleased with the depth in the squad we have managed to name for this very important Test match," said Woolf.

"We feel it is representative of the depth of Tongan rugby league in both the NRL and English Super League and also rewards players that have made firm commitments to playing for their country of heritage.

"This will be a huge occasion for Tonga to take on the top-ranked rugby league country in the world, so we need every player we can committed to the goal."

The Test will be played at Mount Smart Stadium on October 20.

Mate Ma'a Tonga squad:

Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks), Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Sea Eagles), Mahe Fonua (Wests Tigers), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), David Fusitu’a (NZ Warriors), Siliva Havili (Canberra Raiders), Ata Hingano (Canberra Raiders), Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs), Konrad Hurrell (Gold Coast Titans), Michael Jennings (Parramatta Eels), Robert Jennings (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Solomone Kata (NZ Warriors), Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Samisoni Langi (Catalans Dragons), Tuimoala Lolohea (Wests Tigers), Sika Manu (Hull FC), Sam Moa (Catalans Dragons), Ben Murdoch-Masilla (Warrington Wolves), Joe Ofahengaue (Brisbane Broncos), Tevita Pangai Junior (Brisbane Broncos), Agnatius Paasi (NZ Warriors), Leviaha Pulu (NZ Warriors), Scott Sorenson (Cronulla Sharks), Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield Giants), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys), Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Sydney Roosters), Peni Terepo (Parramatta Eels), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters).

Jason Taumalolo leads the Tongan haka.
England v Tonga, Semi-Final, Rugby League World Cup 2017. RLWC2017. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland New Zealand. Saturday 25 November 2017 © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Jason Taumalolo has committed to Mate Ma'a Tonga. Source: Photosport


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'They will be pumped to get one on their coach' - Warriors women to face Broncos mentor

If Brisbane star Teuila Fotu-Moala comes off second best with the Warriors' Onjeurlina Leiataua in Friday's NRL Women's Premiership clash, she will only have herself to blame.

Feared Kiwi Ferns back-rower Fotu-Moala has revealed she used to be the coach of her Warriors rival at hometown Auckland club Otahuhu Leopards, helping her cut her teeth in the sport.

In fact the bulk of the Warriors squad played under Fotu-Moala at the Leopards.

Now they line up against their mentor in the NRL Women's Premiership last round, with a grand final spot on the line for Brisbane.

"I have actually coached her (Leiataua) at club level. The bulk of those (Warriors) girls I have coached at clubland so I know how they play," Fotu-Moala said.

"When it comes to next level footy I don't know what they are like, but I am sure they will be pumped to get one on their coach."

Fotu-Moala has plenty of close friends at the Warriors after forging strong friendships with her Leopards charges.

But she had no problem using her inside knowledge against her ex-pupils, as the Broncos eye off a spot in the inaugural grand final.

Teuila Fotu-Moala on attack. Kiwi Ferns v England, Women’s Rugby League World Cup Semi Final at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney, Australia on 26 November 2017. Copyright Image: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Teuila Fotu-Moala on attack for the Kiwi Ferns against England. Source: Photosport

Brisbane are the competition's only unbeaten team, and can guarantee a grand final appearance with a third straight victory in Melbourne on Friday.

"I know from what I have learnt from my coaching what gets in her head," Fotu- Moala said of Leiataua.

"Whatever I know I will use it on the field."

Fotu-Moala is on a collision course with explosive Warriors back-rower Leiataua at AAMI Park, with Kiwi Ferns jumpers also on the line ahead of October's Auckland Test against the Jillaroos.

"I am pretty excited to come up against some of my best friends," Fotu-Moala said of the Warriors (1-1 record).

Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack. Roosters v Warriors, NRL Holden Women's Premiership.  ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia. 8th Sept 2018. Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz
Warriors women player Onjeurlina Leiataua on attack against the Sydney Roosters. Source: Photosport

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'I just want to protect my family' - Sam Burgess hopeful NRL finalises investigation into sexting scandal soon

An emotional Sam Burgess thanked his wife, family and club for their support during the NRL's investigation into a sexting scandal, suggesting the truth will come out before South Sydney's preliminary final on Saturday.

Burgess addressed reporters on Tuesday, speaking publicly for the first time about allegations lewd images were sent to a young woman from one of his social media accounts earlier this year.

The Englishman refused to discuss specifics, reiterating throughout the 12-minute press conference he is "happy for the truth to come out" but unable to comment publicly because the league's integrity unit is still probing the matter.

Burgess expects the NRL will finalise its investigation within 24-48 hours.

The 29-year-old possess some of the broadest shoulders in the league but it was clear on Tuesday the allegations, made public on the eve of the Rabbitohs' semi- final against St George Illawarra, have taken some toll.

Burgess struggled to speak at the start of Tuesday's interview then became deeply emotional when discussing his heavily-pregnant wife Phoebe.

"I just want to protect my family in this whole thing," Burgess said.

"I just want them to be safe and happy and with my current situation at home (photographers and TV cameras camped outside), there's no chance of that.

"I'm not angry. What hurts me the most is seeing my wife upset about what's out there.

"I've been in situations before, dealt with much harder things in my life ... and football has always been great for me.

"My poor family, they don't have the distraction I do. I will be fine come game time."

The league is in the final stages of its investigation.

Burgess could yet be suspended but Souths' talismanic forward, who won the Clive Churchill medal in their 2014 grand-final victory, is very much preparing to play the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

"There's a lot of important things going on at the moment. I've got some serious football games in front of me, this process we're going through," he said.

"It's been a tough process to go through ... as someone said earlier, a bit of a circus.

"Fortunately I've got a strong wife.

"My teammates have been fantastic. We all have challenges at times. We get through them, we grow. It's brought us together.

"I'm grateful that two of my brothers are in the team ... I've got plenty of support around me."

Asked about the timing of the story about the incident in May, Burgess replied "you can make your own assumptions".

Burgess insisted he wasn't "running away and hiding from what's out there" but had to respect the integrity unit's process.

"I'm not going to put myself into a position that's going to get me into trouble," he said.

Burgess hopes the issue will be solved in the next two days. Source: 9 NEWS Sydney


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Young NRL star Nathan Cleary to sign big contract extension to stay with Panthers - report

NRL star Nathan Cleary is reportedly poised to sign a contract extension to stay with Penrith until at least the end of the 2023 season.

Clearly, who has previously said he would wait until November 1 to engage in contract discussions, will pen a new deal with the club in next 48 hours, reported NRL.com.

The four-year extension will reportedly make him the Panthers' highest paid player, and bump up his salary for the final season of his existing contract.

Panthers supremo Phil Gould hinted on Monday night that the 20-year-old halfback intended to commit his long-term future to the club sooner rather than later.

"It'll get done shortly," he told Nine's 100% Footy.

Off contract at the end of next season, Cleary has seemingly turned his back on fielding offers from rival NRL clubs who were unable to come negotiating table before November.

The NSW State of Origin series winner has spoken openly about his career ambition to one day play under his father, Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.

The Panthers' season, sidetracked by the sacking of coach Anthony Griffin just four weeks out from the finals, came to an end with a one-point loss to Cronulla on Friday.

Cleary could have levelled the semi-final with a late field goal but his attempt sailed wide.

Nathan Cleary
Nathan Cleary Source: Getty


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NRL