Ausfailure’s Admits New Zealand Is Way Fuggen Better

Coach Tim Sheens consoles player Billy Slater after the Four Nations final. Photo / Getty Images

Coach Tim Sheens consoles player Billy Slater after the Four Nations final.

11:21 AM Monday Nov 15, 2010

Only a matter of days ago Australia were rated the best team in rugby league.

Now their media are practically writing obituaries following the Kangaroos’ shock loss to the Kiwis in the Four Nations final.

Here’s a sample of what the Australian rugby league media are saying, after the Kiwis’ comeback win over the Kangaroos on Saturday:

Despite the result the Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie rated the match as of the greatest ever.

“The longest domination in world sport is officially over,” he wrote.

“The tough and fierce Test was one of the best in the modern era and added another important title to the Kiwis’ resume.

“The amazing finish to a stunning match salvaged something from a lacklustre Four Nations. With the Kiwis trailing 12-10 and only one minute and 41 seconds left, Benji Marshall showed his champion qualities. What a star he is.”

There was plenty of praise for the Kiwis’ skipper who set up the victory with some deft touches.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Glenn Jackson labelled Marshall as the reason the Kiwis won.

“The brilliance of Marshall is such that the Kangaroos felt they had his measure for the vast majority of the match. Yet he still made them pay.”

While Dean Ritchie went as far as rating Marshall as the best in the game.

“He played 34 matches this year – more than any other man in the NRL. But when his country need him, Benji Marshall responded.

“To be able to initiate the final try, scored by Nathan Fien, in mid-November after a gruelling season proves Marshall now has the durability and mental toughness to add to his extraordinary skill.

“Marshall still has mistakes in his game but he and Billy Slater are without doubt the most exciting players in the game today.”

Talking of Slater, the Kangaroos fullback was the focus of some stick after following his nightmare performance in the 2008 World Cup final with another ordinary display on Saturday.

The Australian’s Margie McDonald couldn’t ignore the fullback’s mistakes in a story titled < ‘Suncorp nightmare returns for Billy’.

“He rarely makes a mistake in his NRL matches for the Storm but Billy Slater made a blunder on Saturday night wearing the Australian jumper.

“Because it was at the same venue, and against the same opposition, as a mistake he made two years ago, Slater thought his worst Test nightmare had returned.”

“Slater earlier scored a fine try midway through the second half, which put Australia back in front. But he was clearly still rattled in the dressing-rooms after the game when he was asked how long it had been since he had dropped a high kick.

“‘About an hour ago,’ the Melbourne Storm and Queensland fullback said.”

And despite the All Blacks pulling off a relatively easy win over Scotland on Sunday, AAP’s Laine Clarke wrote that the Kiwis win could put more pressure on the 15-man game in New Zealand.

“The Kiwis reckon their incredible 16-12 Four Nations rugby league victory over the Kangaroos could pave the way for the 13-man code to threaten their national sport in New Zealand.

“It’s a big call – then again the New Zealand rugby league team has a habit of proving people wrong.”

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