AUSTRALIAN newspapers have anointed the Kiwis as the world's best league team while calling for a new generation of Australian players to challenge New Zealand's supremacy.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, the influential Phil Gould said the Kiwis were "younger, hungrier, faster" in their victory at Brisbane, and that this era of Australian greatness was over. But Gould, a legendary New South Wales and club coach, was not handing New Zealand the number one ranking quite yet, saying they would have to beat England at the end of this year to confirm that honour. And he lamented the lack of a full house at Suncorp Stadium.
Gould described New Zealand's attack as outstanding, and their "heroic" defence as even better, saying Australia had enough second half possession to win a dozen games.
"We have some work to do," he observed.
Some Australian players old and new received scathing reviews. The Daily Telegraph asked "Did (rookie) Alex Johnston even play?" It gave the highest Kiwi ratings to Manu Vatuvei and Jesse Bromwich, with Shaun Johnson, Martin Taupau and Shaun Kenny-Dowall the next best. The Courier-Mail's Todd Balym described the mistake prone Greg Inglis as "lazy", saying he was "beaten by nothing other than his own nonchalance".
The Courier-Mail's Chris Garry wrote: " The era of Kangaroo dominance has officially ended...(the Kiwis are) undoubtedly the best rugby league team in the world." Australia needed to unleash a new generation.
Phil Lutton, in the Sydney Morning Herald, said the Kiwis are "the best team in the game and only stand to get stronger as they build for the 2017 World Cup" and noted that Kiwi coach Steve Kearney believed he had only scratched the surface of New Zealand's potential.
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