Kearney admits Kiwis outclassed in final

01:33, Dec 02 2013
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Sonny Bill Williams makes a charge against Samoa.
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Isaac Luke makes a break for New Zealand.
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Samoa's Anthony Milford is tackled by Bryson Goodwin, right, and Manu Vatuvei.
Kiwis at the Rugby League World Cup
Key playmaker Shaun Johnson looks to ignite another Kiwi attack.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson takes a shot at goal during the victory over France.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Kiwis wing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck attempts to skip out of a French tackle.
Bryson Goodwin
Bryson Goodwin dives over for a try in the Kiwis' 48-0 rout of France.
Kiwis haka
New Zealand players perform the haka before taking on France.
Kiwis vs France
The French and New Zealand sides line up for the anthems.
Manu Vatuvei
Manu Vatuvei doesn't like being out-done by team mate Sonny Bill Williams.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams dances past would-be Papua New Guinea tacklers.
Kiwis Haka
The Kiwis perform their haka before going into battle against Papua New Guinea in pool play at the World Cup.
Sam Kasiano
Sam Kasiano barrels through the Papua New Guinean defence during the Kiwis' 56-10 rout.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Two-try scorer Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tries to step England's Sean O'Loughlin.
Kevin Locke
Kiwis fullback Kevin Locke gets caught between four English defenders.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson takes a first half kick at goal.
Ryan Hall
England wing Ryan Hall is taken by Kiwis Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Dean Whare.
Brett Ferres
England's Brett Ferres is tackled by Shaun Johnson and another Kiwis defender.
Kiwis haka
The Kiwis perform the haka ahead of their semifinal against England.
Shaun Johnson
Kiwis players pile on Shaun Johnson after his match-trying try, before he converted to send New Zealand into the Rugby League World Cup final.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson dives over to score in the last minute to rescue the Kiwis.
Shaun Johnson
Shaun Johnson leaps into the arms of team-mates after his match-winning conversion.
Issac Luke
Issac Luke leaps in the air in celebration as Shaun Johnson (No 7) and other Kiwis players raise their arms after Johnson's match-winning conversion.
Manu Vatuvei
Kiwis wing Manu Vatuvei is lifted off the ground in the tackle of Jarryd Hayne.
Billy Slater
Billy Slater scores the first try of the final in the tackle of Dean Whare.
Issac Luke
Kiwis hooker Issac Luke is scragged by Australians Paul Gallen and Cameron Smith.
Cooper Cronk
After being denied earlier, Cooper Cronk dives over for a first half try.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams looks up at a sorry-looking scoreboard.
Greg Inglis and Kevin Locke
Kiwis fullback Kevin Locke mishandles the high kick under pressure from Greg Inglis.
Jarryd Hayne and Manu Vatuvei
Jarryd Hayne and Manu Vatuvei compete for a high kick out wide.
Dejected Kiwis
Dejected Kiwis players (from left) Sonny Bill Williams, Dean Whare and Kieran Foran.
Simon Mannering
Kiwis captain Simon Mannering is fended in the face by Paul Gallen.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney admitted that his side needed to be at their very best if they wanted to keep hold of the Rugby League World Cup - and after their 34-2 defeat confirmed that they weren't.

New Zealand failed to get into the game, they made too many mistakes that the Kangaroos fed off, while they weren't able to cope with Australia's clinical and brutal attack and it resulted in the most one-sided World Cup final since the inception of the tournament in 1954.

"Australia's performance was nothing short of outstanding," Kearney said afterwards. 

"We just couldn't get ourselves into the contest. 

"The pressure that they mounted, we were hanging on there, but in some of their last tackle finishes they came up with the points, particularly in that first half.

"I thought their performance was pretty faultless to be fair, they gave us a real lesson today."

Kearney felt that with the way the Kangaroos played, there was little the Kiwis could have done to get a victory.

"When you turn up today and the Australian side play the way they do, we had to bring our best game and I know we didn't do that," he said. 

"The way they played took a lot out of us. We didn't threaten them at all with the footy in the first half, which we needed to do.

"If we weren't going to bring our best game against Australia, then it's always going to be tough and that's as good as I've seen them play."

The Kiwis got off to a disastrous start with star winger, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck having to leave the game after just a few minutes. Against England in last weekend's game it was feared he had broken his leg. He had scans which didn't show up any damage, but clearly there was and it was to the detriment of the team.

"We think there is probably a hairline fracture there, we did all of the relevant tests," Kearney said.

"He got to be x-rayed, scanned and whatever at the front end of the week and there was nothing wrong with him.

"But in his first carry he heard a crack, which is pretty unfortunate. It does throw your lineup out when you've got to replace a winger."

Tuivasa-Sheck's injury meant that Dean Whare had to move to the wing and Alex Glenn came into centre. For the rest of the match, Australia attacked that edge relentlessly.

However, Kearney doesn't believe that tactic from them was necessarily because of Tuivasa-Sheck's absence.

"I think they would have been looking to target that edge, England had a bit of success there last week," he said.

"When you replace a winger in any contest it's hard because you don't have a winger sitting on the bench. We had to shuffle lads around and put a makeshift centre out in the centres and the centre goes on the wing, so straight away, it throws that edge out a bit."

This Kiwis side has an average age of 25, far younger than the Australian team and Kearney hopes that the players will learn from this experience and come back better prepared to win the World Cup in four year's time.

"There are a lot of negatives to come out of today, but a positive is that I look at the side and we've got some pretty young kids in it," he said.

"For them to sit there, feel the hurt and listen to the celebrations of Australia next door in the dressing room, they've got to feel that and understand that next time we find ourselves in that position, that Australia's performance is what it's going to take to lift that trophy again."

The Kiwis needed Sonny Bill Williams to have a big game for them to be in with a genuine chance of winning the final and sadly for them he didn't. While he gave everything to the cause, there were numerous errors from him.

"I don't think you could fault his effort," Kearney said of Williams. 

"He was trying and the skipper [Simon Mannering] too. 

"I don't think you're going to pick guys out in our group in terms of their contribution and effort, both of them tried their hearts out all day.

"Some of the stuff didn't come off, but that's Sonny. He wants to try to make an impact on the game and he was doing that right to the end."


Fairfax Media