A Joey Manu-inspired New Zealand brought Australia crashing back to earth as the Kangaroos' new era began with a 26-24 upset loss.
The start was absolutely flawless for the Kangaroos, with the Kiwis tactic of up-and-in defence backfiring when they couldn't shut down the ball and a good combination of passing between Roosters trio Boyd Cordner, Luke Keary and James Tedesco gave fellow premiership Rooster, centre Latrell Mitchell space out on the left hand side before drawing in the fullback and passing out to Valentine Holmes who took the ball around towards the posts and scored the opener.
The Kiwis on the other hand have been marred by a string of bad performances and questions are being posed about their culture after Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor's illicit drugs scandal following last year's Anzac Test in Canberra.
"The boys did an unbelievable job", Kiwis first-time captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak said.
Final score of a wonderful game: New Zealand 26 - Australia 24.
The Sydney Roosters centre was electric for the Kiwis on the right edge, with his last-ditch offload for Jordan Rapana's try in the 69th minute proving the matchwinner for the home side at Mt Smart Stadium. "They took it up for the crowd and our country and did our families proud. Just hold the ball, go set for set".
Australia entered Saturday's match as an overwhelming favourite, so much so that in the first between the teams in New Zealand in more than four years, Mt.
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Some streets around Mt Smart Stadium are lined with Tongan flags and houses decked out in red and white.
But they will want to quickly bounce back given giant-slayers Tonga await at the same Auckland venue next Saturday in what will be a sellout.
"It feels so surreal", Watene-Zelezniak said.
However the Kiwis also had a new-look team, with Watene-Zelezniak making his debut as captain and Manu and Smith joining the new players blooded in June's Denver Test against England.
Although latter forty minutes was ultimately dominated by the Kiwis, it was the Australians who had the best of the running in the early stages of the game with a string of penalties helping the Aussies into NZ territory. "Our ball control was pretty disappointing".
He hopes that will gradually change, continuing during the looming three-Test series away to England.