Kiwis up the rugby league fight: Foran - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwis up the rugby league fight: Foran

Steve Jancetic 07/05/2011 02:14:13 PM Comments (0)

They walked away from yet another Anzac Test empty handed, but New Zealand halfback Kieran Foran said the days of the Kiwis being Australia's rugby league whipping boys were well and truly over.

Despite stunning the Australians to capture the most recent Four Nations and World Cup trophies, the lingering sense that the Kiwis were still a level below their trans-Tasman rivals continued to hover.

Much of the fuel for that argument had been derived from New Zealand's performance in the annual mid-year Test, where they remain without a win since the inaugural contest in 1998.

But after several years of the game being decided by big margins, the last two matches have been decidedly tighter affairs, with Australia getting home by just four points in 2010 before needing until a 67th minute try against the run of play to Billy Slater to get home on Friday night.

"I think you can say we're no longer Australia's little brothers - we can outplay them every time we play them," Foran boldly declared after Friday night's loss.

"Tonight it was there to be won, we just didn't capitalise.

"We were in it, we said it at halftime 'we haven't been playing too well, but the scores only 10-6.

"We went out there in the second half and built some pressure early on - it was there to be won."

In the end a litany of errors cost the Kiwis any chance, but the final play did offer a ray of hope to their supporters as Foran and halves partner Benji Marshall combined to put Lance Hohaia over on the back of some brilliant exhibition of skill.

Foran and Marshall hold the key to New Zealand's development, and Foran said it was only a matter of the pair playing more games together for the partnership to develop.

"I think I'm starting to get a better understanding of his game, hopefully he did of mine," Foran said.

"It's definitely a work in progress, we don't get to play week in week out footy together, we get the short week to learn each others game and build a combination.

"But the more games we play together hopefully the better we get."

All things going to plan, Foran and Marshall - who played together in the halves for just the second time on Friday night - will get six games together in 2011.

There is the second trans-Tasman Test in October, before three pool games in the Four Nations, where the Kiwis will be favoured to advance to another final against Australia.

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