Kangaroos wary of Tonga after Kiwis loss

Kiwis prop Jared Waerea Hargreaves needs to replicate the form he displayed in the NRL grand final

"It's a good thing for the game".

"It's unbelievable, surreal", said Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who was captaining New Zealand for the first time.

New look sides was the story of the 2018 Trans-Tasman test match, with the nations facing each other for the first time since May 2017 - and indeed the first clash between the two sides on New Zealand soil since 2014.

"We didn't give ourselves much chance but we stuck in there and it was a tight finish", he said. "We've got to continually back up these type of performances and that's when you can start talking about the team and where we're going", Maguire said.

"A lot of young kids, unfortunately, at some stage make a mistake and those two boys have definitely put their hands up and turned a bit of adversity into strength and where we want to be".

"It's okay to do it tonight but we've got to reflect that over this next tour".

The Kiwis have had to cope with high-profile retirements of their own and were beaten 36-18 by England in Michael Maguire's first Test at the helm in June, but were richly deserved winners on this occasion as a late fightback from their opponents proved in vain. New Zealand was on a three-match losing streak in tests against all countries, and discouraged fans stayed away.

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The Australians scored an early try to Valentine Holmes, but they suffered a blow when they lost halfback Luke Keary on 17 minutes.

The Kangaroos produced something out of nothing when Daly Cherry-Evans, Tom Trbojevic and Dane Gagai combined on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-8, however the Kiwis powered home in the second half.

New Zealand trailed 12-8 at the break despite dominating possession and territory in the opening period.

However, the Kiwis surged into a 26-12 lead with tries from Brandon Smith, Esan Marsters and Jordan Rapana, before a late charge from Australia.

The star halfback then repeated the effort to set up a try for Rapana after Manu managed an offload the ball despite the attention of Mitchell and Holmes. New Zealand pressured the Australian line for nearly 25 minutes through the middle of the first half and came up with tries to Ken Maumalo and Manu which were both unconverted.

Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium played host to a triple-header between the fierce sporting rivals on Saturday.

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