The Kiwis rued debatable adjudications by the video referees during last night's Anzac Test through will also cringe when reviewing footage of a second half performance that propelled the Kangaroos to a 32-12 victory at Canberra Stadium.
Management and players were mystified that Alex Glenn was denied his first test a try in the 23rd minute while Dean Whare was also unfortunate not to celebrate the same milestone when Jason Nightingale was ruled to have impeded Justin Hodges in the lead-up.
Those opening half setbacks were exacerbated when Steve Clark and Henry Perenara green-lighted a Greg Inglis touchdown that broke a 6-6 deadlock in the 51st minute and triggered a five-try blitz that buckled the under strength Kiwis resistance.
Stand-in skipper Kieran Foran pinpointed the Inglis try as his biggest gripe, claiming the match officials had missed an obstruction and knock-on.
"I thought there were a couple of cases there where it could have been called a no-try -- (Cameron) Smith running behind (Paul) Gallen and then (Billy) Slater touches it again as it goes forward," he said.
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney had no view on that incident but felt Glenn had forced the ball before the video referees decided he had knocked on after dissecting several camera angles.
"That's why I guess they're (video referees) up there, that's their role, to get those decisions right. And I thought it was a try," Kearney said.
As did Glenn, who was promoted to the starting line-up at lock when captain Simon Mannering joined the injury list at late notice with a calf injury.
"I'm spewing. I thought I got it," he said.
Frank Pritchard was legitimately denied a try five minutes before the interval when the video referees identified a knock on though the second rower fared better as the siren sounded when his rare grubber kick sat up for Josh Hoffman after Billy Slater failed to flick the ball dead.
Hoffman's try finally rewarded the Kiwis perseverance although they could have potentially been well ahead at halftime.
"We were sticking to our game plan of coming through the middle, we thought it was a good half, we could have been 18-6 up," Glenn lamented before acknowledging the Kiwis second half display was self-destructive.
"We gave three penalties straight away. With a team like that we can't give away easy metres. We bought that upon ourselves."
Pritchard was among the culprits with a shoulder charge on Slater - the second time he was penalised for the now outlawed tackling technique.
"I'm pretty filthy on myself," confessed Pritchard, one of the Kiwis best performers and final try scorer in the 78th minute.
"I have to go back to the drawing board and learn how to tackle properly."
Poor discipline cost the Kiwis as the Kangaroos exerted control with four tries in 11 minutes through Inglis, Brett Morris, Luke Lewis and Darius Boyd.
"It's hard when you're playing against a side with the talent they have if you leg them out of the back field with penalties," Kearney said.
"There were individuals that let themselves down.
"If we want to be a side that challenges Australia every time we play them we've got to play for 80 minutes and it's got to be a disciplined approach and we let ourselves down them."
After conceding a sixth minute try to Cooper Cronk the Kiwis regrouped to dominate the opening half only to clock off when they retook the field.
Their completion rate was an appalling 30 per cent over the final 40 minutes and they were already starved of possession with the Kangaroos enjoying 21 sets to the Kiwis 10.
They were also caned 5-2 in the penalty count by referee Ashley Klein before the Kangaroos notched their sixth straight train-Tasman test triumph since being stunned by the Kiwis in the 2010 Four Nations final.
Satisfied Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens thought the Hoffman score refocused his players.
"The try right on halftime maybe shook us up a bit which maybe we needed.
"The boys had that 'kangaroo in the headlights' look," he said.
"We came out and took our chances in the second half and had the class to put a score on them."
- Fairfax Media
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