REPRESENTATIVE football clearly agrees with Greg Inglis.
The Queensland superstar, who always seems to produce his best while wearing the Maroon jumper, showed he is no slouch in the green and gold either with a man of the match performance in Australia’s 26-6 win over New Zealand in the Perth Test.
The Western Australian capital’s nib Stadium was packed with a record crowd of 20,283 for the first rugby league Test ever played in the state.
The performance of Inglis would have helped covert any locals skeptical about the “foreign” code.
Inglis only joined the Kangaroos in camp two days before the match after flying back to Sydney to be with wife Sally for the birth of their daughter.
But you would not have known it from watching his two-try masterclass against the Kiwis, which followed on from his sensational game for Australia against New Zealand in the May Test match in Newcastle.
Inglis finished with two tries in Perth, and set-up another for his winger and fellow Queenslander Valentine Holmes, who was making his Test debut.
The win also marked the second win as Kangaroos coach for Mal Meninga, who was pleased with the display from his troops before they head to the UK for the Four Nations.
Meninga’s first Test in charge in Newcastle had been slammed as dull by some critics, but there was no danger his second match as Australian coach was going to fall into that category.
The Australians were polished and methodical, with experienced halves Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk controlling proceedings as they always do behind a dominant forward pack.
Much had been made of the size of the Kiwi scrum leading into the game, with Dally M Medal winner Jason Taumalolo headlining a cast of giants that included Roosters prop Jared Warea-Hargreaves returning from international exile.
But the Kangaroos pack was not short on muscle either, with Meninga electing to throw Canberra’s 122kg behemoth Shannon Boyd into the front row for his Test debut.
Dragons backrower Tyson Frizelle also played his first Test for Australia, and shone just like he did in his State of Origin baptism for NSW earlier this year.
Meninga said his team had shown promise, but expected another lift in execution when the Four Nations tournament got underway.
“Our start was excellent and the second half was really, really good,” Meninga said. “Halftime might have been good for us.
“I think we can play better, a few things we ironed out at halftime, we can play a lot better with the football.”
The Kiwis by comparison were out of sorts, and came up with too many simple errors to keep Australia under pressure for long. Shaun Kenny-Dowell was a surprise repeat offender.
New Zealand made a habit of stealing Australia’s thunder in big matches under former coach Stephen Kearney.
But with Kearney stepping aside from Test duty after becoming Warriors coach, David Kidwell took over the black and white clipboard and it looks like the Kiwis might need some more time to adjust to the change in style.
“We learnt some harsh lessons,” Kidwell said after the game.
“You can’t give a team like the Australian team that was out there that much ball and that much opportunity.
“The way we got ourselves back into the game, that’s what I’m looking for.
“A couple of errors were pretty simple, some penalties put us under pressure. It’s always hard playing catch up football.”