Australia maintained their unbeaten run under new coach Robbie Deans with a 34-19 victory over New Zealand in the the Bledisloe Cup test on Saturday.
The Wallabies chalked up their fifth consecutive win under Deans after a seven-try thriller at Sydney's Olympic Stadium, to storm to the top of the Tri-Nations standings.
Australia have nine points after their 16-9 win over world champions South Africa last weekend while New Zealand and the Springboks are level on five points each.
New Zealand, who suffered their first loss at home in five years when they were beaten by South Africa two weeks ago, briefly took the lead early in the second half but were unable to hold out an inspired Australian team.
The Wallabies, who are starting to rebuild after luring Deans over from New Zealand, led 17-12 at the break after a frantic first half featuring four tries but still had to survive a strong fightback from the All Blacks.
All Blacks coach Graham Henry says his players only had themselves to blame for the loss after turning the ball over 25 times.
"I think our guys just ran out of composure in the finish ... ran out of steam perhaps. Also we were trying to play catch-up a lot of the time in the last quarter of an hour, trying to do things which probably weren't on."
He says his side has to re-establish its structure ahead of the return Bledilsoe Cup test against Australia in Auckland on Saturday.
The state of the All Blacks halfbacks is the main area of concern ahead of the return Tri-Nations match against Australia at Eden Park next weekend.
Andrew Ellis has sore ribs and Jimmy Cowan has a broken nose and a strained knee.
Assistant coach Steve Hansen says it seems likely they will need another halfback for training at least this week, but they haven't decided who that is yet.
He says a number of other players are sore after a tough match with hooker Andrew Hore perhaps the worst with a sore hip.