You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Wizards of Oz, killer Kiwis and a rivalry like no other

From rugby league to rugby, cricket to netball, the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand never fails to stir the emotions and never fails to deliver memorable sporting theatre.

When the Trans-Tasman neighbours square off on a rugby league field, you can rest assured nothing will be left in the tank and no one will be left disappointed.

After Australia dominated the men’s arena for decades, it was Kiwi legends Mark Graham, Olsen Filipaina, Gary Freeman, Nathan Cayless and Benji Marshall who turned the tide, ensuring New Zealand were fiercely competitive every time the two sides clashed.

As the Gallagher Kangaroos and the Kiwis prepare to meet for the 139th time in their history this weekend, and the Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns lock horns again, looks back at some of the epic showdowns between the two nations.


A Rivalry Like No Other

2006 Tri-Nations Final... Kangaroos 16 bt Kiwis 12 in Sydney

Any time you have Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis going up against Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki and David Kidwell, a quality contest is assured, but few could have predicted the drama that would unfold at the SFS on November 25, 2006.

With scores locked at 12-12 at the end of 80 minutes the teams went to golden point and it was Lockyer who had the final say with a try set up by a trademark Thurston show-and-go.

The clock had ticked over to 87 minutes when Lockyer capped a remarkable season that included a premiership with the Broncos and a State of Origin series win with the Maroons and culminated in him being awarded the Golden Boot as the world’s best player.

The thrilling win in Sydney was sweet revenge for the Kangaroos after the Kiwis had put them to the sword 24-0 in the 2005 Tri-Nations final in Leeds.

Kangaroos v Kiwis - Tri-Nations Final, 2006

2008 World Cup Final... Kiwis 34 bt Kangaroos 20 in Brisbane

New Zealand had never beaten Australia in a single tournament fixture, let alone a final, but with 50,559 in the house and millions more watching on television, the Kiwis produced an unbelievable comeback from 10-0 down in the first 20 minutes to break their drought in style.

With the game in the balance midway through the second half, 23-year-old Benji Marshall made Kangaroos fullback Billy Slater pay for a wild pass near his own line, gliding onto the loose ball and touching it down for a 22-16 lead.

Kangaroos centre Greg Inglis scored soon after to pull it back to 22-20 before a penalty try to Lance Hohaia which Marshall converted in the 70th minute gave the Kiwis an eight-point advantage and the Cup was theirs, before a late Adam Blair try iced the cake.

Trans-Tasman Rivalries: The 2008 World Cup

2013 World Cup Final... Kangaroos 34 bt Kiwis 2 in Manchester

Five years after the pain of losing the 2008 decider on their own patch, the Kangaroos exacted sweet revenge with a dominant display in Manchester.

With Melbourne’s Big Three of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater in imperious form the Kangaroos shot to a 16-2 lead at the break and never looked back.

Johnathan Thurston etched his name in the Kangaroos history books as he landed a perfect seven from seven with the boot to surpass Eels great Mick Cronin as Australia's top pointscorer in Test football.

Thurston went into the Old Trafford decider with 304 points for his country, just five behind 'The Crow' and finished a memorable day on 318 as the Aussies turned in a defensive masterclass to keep a potent Kiwi side tryless.

Doubles to Slater and Brett Morris were the cornerstone of Australia's win while Matt Scott, James Tamou, Paul Gallen and Sam Thaiday muscled up in the forwards to ensure New Zealand never got a look in.

The monster crowd of 74,468 still stands as a record for Australia in Test matches played overseas and they were treated to some champagne football from a Kangaroos side riding high after conceding just two points in 320 minutes of footy leading in to the final against Fiji, Ireland, USA and Fiji again in the semi.

Cameron Smith's big three: 2013 World Cup Final

2005 Tri-Nations Final... Kiwis 24 bt Kangaroos 0 in Leeds

Kiwi legend Stacey Jones left the team camp to fly to Auckland for the birth of his son and returned to play a huge role in the victory.

Jones laid on tries for Paul Whatuira and Manu Vatuvei with pinpoint kicks as Brian ‘Bluey’ McLennan’s men held the Kangaroos to zero for just the second time ever.

Two penalties to Jones made it 16-0 at the break to New Zealand and the injection of David Solomona and Ali Lauitiiti off the bench in the second half ensured the Kiwis retained their stranglehold.

A try to fullback Brent Webb off a short ball from Jones in the 52nd minute put the game out of reach at 24-0 and the Kiwis cruised home to a memorable victory.

The 24-point margin is the equal biggest for the Kiwis in the history of Trans-Tasman Test, alongside the 49-25 triumph in Brisbane in 1952.

Trans-Tasman Rivalries: Stacey SOS

Centenary Test 2003... Kiwis 30 bt Kangaroos 16 in Auckland

Three months earlier the Kangaroos had humiliated the Kiwis 48-6 in Sydney and with Stephen Kearney, Stacey Jones, Paul Rauhihi, Logan Swann and David Vaeliki all missing, it was hard to see New Zealand turning the tide at North Harbour Stadium.

But under the inspirational captaincy of Ruben Wiki, that’s exactly what they did, as 17-year-old Thomas Leuluai featured in four of the Kiwis’ six tries in the 30-16 triumph.

The Kangaroos had led 10-0 and 16-14 midway through the second half before Clinton Toopi powered over for a double and Vinnie Anderson scored late to ice the win.

New Kiwis coach Daniel Anderson named 11 Warriors in his side, among them 20-year-old Louis Anderson, who joined brother Vinnie as the 33rd brothers to play together for the Kiwis.

Wiki said the sight of Vinnie Anderson shedding tears as the team ran out and the anthems were played had fired him up for a superhuman effort.

This was the 100th Test between the two nations and just as they had in the first ever Test in Sydney in 1908, it was the Kiwis who stood tall.

Wiki punches out push-ups on Hall of Fame red carpet

2015 Anzac Test... Kiwis 26 bt Kangaroos 12 in Brisbane

A severe weather event in Brisbane forced the Trans-Tasman clash to be rescheduled from Friday to Sunday and it was the Kiwis who handled the disruption best to win their third consecutive clash against Australia.

On top of their victories in the pool stages and final of the 2014 Tri-Nations, the Kiwis made it three straight on the back of a blistering first-half performance and some impregnable defence.

The 26-12 defeat signalled the first time Australia had lost three in a row against New Zealand since the Clive Churchill-led side of 1953.

Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson wiped away his indifferent club form for the Warriors with a dominant display – scoring one try and making three tackle breaks, one line break, one try assist and kicking five goals – while blockbusting winger Manu Vatuvei's two tries saw him awarded the Charles Savory Medal for man of the match.

New Zealand’s desperation in defence was best summed up by fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s effort to deny Cooper Cronk a try late in the game as the home side tried everything to get back into the match.

Rep Rd Magic Moment: Kangaroos v Kiwis

2022 Women's World Cup Round 3... Jillaroos 10, Kiwi Ferns 6 at York

In a game worthy of a World Cup Final the tournament heavyweights slugged it out to see who would finish top of their group and have the easier path to the decider.

It was the Jillaroos who opened the scoring after 20 minutes when a Simaima Taufa offload put Tarryn Aiken into space and the five-eighth crashed over.

Four minutes later Kiwi halfback Raecene McGregor's kicking came to the fore when a perfectly weighted grubber was collected by Apii Nicholls for New Zealand’s first try – and the first points Australia had conceded in the tournament.

Down 6-4 at the break the Kiwis stole the lead in the 54th minute when centre Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly finished off an attacking raid started by a one-on-one steal by Mele Hufanga on Sam Bremner.

The Jillaroos were quick to strike back with Julia Robinson crossing for her sixth try to give the green and gold a two-point advantage they would not surrender.

Despite being beaten, New Zealand prop Amber Hall was awarded player-of-the-match on the back of 164 run metres and 11 tackle breaks.

Aiken on the spot

2018 Trans-Tasman Test... Jillaroos 26 bt Kiwi Ferns 24 in Auckland

Veteran prop Heather Ballinger bowed out of Test football in triumph after inspiring the Jillaroos to their first win in New Zealand for 19 years.

Ballinger was named player of the match in her farewell Test for Australia as the Jillaroos overcome the loss of star forward Kezie Apps just before half-time with a knee injury.

Jillaroos coach Brad Donald revealed that Ballinger had told teammates how Australia had only beaten the Kiwi Ferns in New Zealand once in the third Test of the 1999 series. 

“Those memories from players like Heather inspired the team," Donald said. “Shes been a mainstay of the team for a long time.”

With the teams scoring five tries apiece, the goalkicking of Jillaroos fullback Chelsea Baker proved the difference.

"We were leaning on a number of players," Donald said. "With Kezie getting injured we needed players like Steph Hancock to play nearly the whole second half. We were fortunate to spend some time with the ADF earlier in the week and we spoke about mateship ... and showing up for each other."

Newly appointed Jillaroos captain Ali Brigginshaw led the way for her team in the early stages by laying on a try for Julia Robinson in just the sixth minute of her Test debut.

Brigginshaw then scored herself eight minutes later after stepping her way over the try line to put the Jillaroos ahead 12-0 but the Kiwi Ferns were never going to lay down.

Match Highlights: Kiwi Ferns v Jillaroos, 2018

2000 World Cup... Kiwi Ferns 10 bt Jillaroos 6 at South Leeds

How times have changed!

At the first ever women’s World Cup in 2000 only three teams took part and the Aussies had to pay their own way to get to the UK.

Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain & Ireland played the part of trailblazers for the women’s game and when the Trans-Tasman rivals clashed at South Leeds Stadium only 1000 fans were on hand to witness the Kiwis’ 10-6 win.

Tries to Sharlene Johnstone and Rachel White were enough to get New Zealand home, while current Maroons coach Tahnee Morris was the lone tryscorer for the green and gold.

"Having to pay for your shorts and your socks at a World Cup, or having to stand out the front of Bunnings and sell tickets to try [to] raffle yourself over there," Norris reflected ahead of last year’s World Cup in England where eight teams competed and the Jillaroos emerged victorious.

Once they made it to England for that 2000 tournament the players stayed in university dorms and lived as the boarding students did, including a shared lunch hour in the refectory and rationing hot water for showers.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Major Partner

Corporate Partners

View All Partners