NZ Take Opening Mixed Grade Match in Fast and Furious Encounter
The Mixed match started at break-neck speed with both teams playing with energy and commitment. New Zealand were first to create an opportunity but Heneti Davis was shutdown out wide. Australia's Patricia Michaelopolous has an easier path created for her on the opposing wing and crossed to put the visitors up 1-0.
The lead didn't last long, NZ's Tiakina Manga found space in the middle of the field and dived over to lock the scores up. Rohit Prasad was the main man for Australia and had his hand in numerous plays, including a fine touchdown centre field to give his team the lead.
While Prasad was leading from the front for Australia, Phoenix Hunapo was equally dangerous for New Zealand and always looked threatening close to the line with balls in hand.
Australia's Cameron Nicholls also crossed to create a buffer but they couldn't hold onto that advantage as Mark Hodgson found his way over in New Zealand's next set.
Prasad scored twice more in the half while New Zealand's Davis and Bruce Kake kept them in the hunt with touchdowns. With minutes to go Kristy Brennan scored for Australia to give them a 4-6 lead with only two minutes to go in the half.
New Zealand's captain Tabitha McKenzie then stepped up and had a hand in two massive plays for the home team. Her back-to-back Touchdowns tied the game at 6-6 as the halftime hooter blew.
Drafted into the team at the 11th hour, the spotlight then focused on Shaq Stone. In five minutes of dynamic creative play he turned the game on its head, scoring three times and giving New Zealand the momentum.
Australia kept on coming and the teams traded touchdowns but the Shaq attack was too much and New Zealand prevailed 10-8.