21 Nov 2016

Kidwell defends Kiwis' Four Nations campaign

12:58 pm on 21 November 2016

The Kiwis coach David Kidwell is defending his performance during the Four Nations rugby league tournament - blaming it on a lack of time in the top job.

Kiwis coach David Kidwell.

Kiwis coach David Kidwell. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Kidwell's side was thrashed 34-8 by Australia in this morning's Four Nations final.

New Zealand was lucky to even make it to the final after recording just one win during the tournament.

In round robin play they beat England 17-16, lost to Australia 14-8 and drew 18-18 with Scotland.

Kidwell was given the job in September after Stephen Kearney became the Warriors head coach.

He says it's been a big learning curve.

" I'll be a lot more prepared than 2 weeks getting into the job (time to prepare for their first game)."

"I've thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to next year."

2017 will be a big year for Kidwell, New Zealand co-hosts the Rugby League World Cup with the Australia - who've now reclaimed the number one world ranking following this morning's game.

Shaun Johnson and other Kiwis after Four Nations loss to Australia 2016.

Shaun Johnson and other Kiwis after Four Nations loss to Australia 2016. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Mal Meninga's team ran in six tries and returned to the top of the world rugby league rankings, after over-running a disappointing Kiwis side, who meekly surrendered the title they won in 2014.

The Kangaroos made their intentions clear after just two minutes when Trent Merrin's huge shot on Jordan Rapana dislodged the ball and from the resulting scrum, Darius Boyd found Blake Ferguson with a superb cut-out pass for the Sydney Roosters star to score.

New Zealand responded in a positive fashion with Adam Blair and Jason Taumalolo making strong runs to break deep into the Australian half, only for Shaun Kenny- Dowall to drop the ball when it looked easy to score.

Shaun Johnson then broke forward strongly, but under pressure from Greg Inglis, his pass fell short for Kevin Proctor and was picked up by Valentine Holmes, who raced downfield to start a movement which ended with a try to Josh Dugan.

Matters were compounded for the Kiwis midway through the opening stanza when Merrin crashed over from close range.

After adding the extra two points Johnathan Thurston then grubbered for Dugan to dart in between three flat-footed Kiwi defenders to get his hand to the ball, giving him a double and the Kangaroos a 24-0 lead at the break.

The second period started in a similar fashion with man of the match Boyd - who is still to taste defeat in 22 internationals - scoring when he finished off a sweeping move by sliding over in the right corner.

With 55 minutes played the Kiwis finally woke up and Jordan Kahu slid over to score, before adding his second just after the hour mark.

But any hopes of a miraculous comeback were diminished when, five minutes from time, Boyd Cordner scrambled over for a sixth four-pointer, which was converted by Thurston.

"We set out to play well and get the world ranking back, we want to be the best and it is good to get the win tonight," Boyd told the BBC.

"Mal has brought of pride back to the jersey."

Australian halfback Cooper Cronk was named man of the tournament.