21 Apr 2012

Kiwis debutant's try and smile lights up Eden Park

1:13 pm on 21 April 2012

The new New Zealand rugby league halfback Shaun Johnson says he's disappointed to lose his debut test but he was stoked to score an end to end intercept try, which gave the Kiwis a sniff of an upset victory over Australia in Friday night's ANZAC test.

Johnson says he realised he was going to score halfway through his 90-metre run, and didn't realise how much he was grinning until he saw himself on the big screen afterwards - labelling himself "a dickhead".

That brought the hosts back to within two points early in the second half at Eden Park, but the Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith scored with 11 minutes remaining to take the game out of reach.

Johnson's debut looked over in the first minute when he took a nasty stinger to his right shoulder, but he battled back well and drew praise from his skipper Benji Marshall afterwards.

The 21-year-old was one of three new caps who took the field with fullback Josh Hoffman and interchange prop Jesse Bromwich also drawing raps from Marshall.