Meninga Experiences First Defeat as Head Coach of Kangaroos

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Smashed? Crushed? Destroyed? Humiliated?

Strong adjectives from the fingers of New Zealand Herald sports writer Chris Rattue following a recently completed match between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis.

We are no strangers to hyperbole ourselves, but the bloody score of the game was 26 – 24.

Gripping. Edge of your seat. Down to the wire.

Those are the sorts of descriptives to attach to a two-point game.

This was the Kangaroos, however, not Japan’s Brave Blossoms, so it would be reasonable to expect a Kiwi sports writer to declare the end of the Kangaroos’ 13-game winning streak and the first loss since Mal Meninga took the job.

The Kangaroos made it close with a 77th minute try by fullback James Tedesco, or should we say closer, as the margin was not exactly huge prior to Tedesco crossing.

Meninga’s first loss can hardly be laid at his feet. He was without the services of four of the all-time greats following the retirements of Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

It is not hard to imagine that just one of those four in the game would have supplied a different outcome.

This is part of what Rattue had to say, “The Kangaroos were humiliated. Make no mistake. Smashed, crushed, destroyed. Since the mid-1970s, it is hard to recall a Kiwis side ever hammering Australia the way they did on Saturday night. There have been bigger margins, but we’re talking about the manner of the victory here.”

We are not entirely sure what game Rattue was observing, or his condition during the observation, but the Kangaroos had the lead following the first half at 12 – 8.

The game followed a full slate of matches at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland. The first two games were won by the Junior Kangaroos by the score of 40 – 24 and the Jillaroos over the Kiwi Ferns by the same 26 – 24 score as the feature game.

40 – 24 sounds like the more appropriate place for the use of smashing, crushed and humiliated, but we may be guilty of too much objectivity.