They say that when forwards dictate the terms of the game, it makes it easier to win, and for the Kangaroos that was exactly the case – as their prop duo of Matt Scott and James Tamou set the platform for their attacking players, to defeat the Kiwis 18-10 in a closely fought game.
It was Matt Scott who was given the man of the match award for his Herculean effort, with Australian coach Tim Sheens ecstatic with the work his two front-rowers got through.
“The two Cowboys props played very well and I was very happy with them,” Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens said.
For Tamou, who caused a large amount of uproar when he made the choice to move across the Tasman and play for Australia, despite being born in Palmerston North – he said he is comfortable with the decision he made.
“There was too much on my mind last time on my debut, but this time I was able to relax and play some good footy,” Tamou said.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year. I am looking forward to a rest. But this has been beyond anything I could have hope for.”
Not all was lost, however, as Tamou exchanged jerseys with Kiwi prop and life-long friend Ben Matulino after the game.
“Benny is a good friend, we grew up together and he wanted to swap jerseys and just out of respect for him I swapped, and then put it on,” Tamou said.
“Everyone was cool. I just didn’t want to show off my Mad Monday guts, which is why I put it on. But the Aussie one fits better.”
Tamou also got on the scoresheet, and his celebration was one of pure excitement in scoring for Australia.
“I felt in that situation maybe I should run down to the other end of the ground,.I didn’t know what to do, I don’t score many,” he said.
“But it’s quite overwhelming. To win the award from my peers in the team is very special. But I am looking forward to the season being over now for a rest.”
With the decision still one that some people are coming to terms with, Kiwis captain Benji Marshall said that the players are past it.
“We’re far past that decision now,” Marshall said.
“Big Sammy made his decision to play for us and that’s all that matters.”
Sheens also had praise for one player in particular, perhaps the best player in the game at the moment – Cameron Smith.
“He’s a fair player .. if I had a club, I would want him to play for me,” said Sheens.