Sportal.co.nz 21.Oct.2012Getty Images
Not only did the sequence of wins end, New Zealand also missed the chance to claim their 100th victory over Australia in Test matches.
Both sides had chances as the game went four minutes into injury time and in the final act of the game an attempted dropped goal by ace first five-eighths Dan Carter shaved the right hand upright.
Moments earlier it had been Australia who had been building for a dropped goal attempt of their own to win the game, but two quick penalties allowed New Zealand to bring the ball downfield in a bid for a dropped goal.
Carter was in the pocket for the shot, after kicking six penalty goals, timed the ball sweetly but it just flew wide of the right-hand post.
Australia attacked New Zealand at the breakdown all night and disrupted the flow of possession, but the tactics, and the battle by New Zealand to scramble for ball resulted in a lot of penalties which was reflected in the points scoring on the night.
At times Australia looked to be panicking but their nerve held and had due reward for a determined effort to take some lustre from their own season.
An error as basic as a long throw five metres out from their own line, resulted in a lineout turnover and a defensive penalty in the subsequent play allowed New Zealand to draw back to 15-15 with 14 minutes of the game remaining.
Australia turned over an All Blacks lineout, but then halfback Nick Phipps kicked the ball out on the full moments before he then got offside after Adam Ashley-Cooper dropped a downfield kick by replacement five-eighths Aaron Cruden which Carter used to land his sixth penalty goal.
Another crucial error was made when flanker Michael Hooper took halfback Aaron Smith out after he had placed a kick downfield. Referee Craig Joubert had no hesitation in sending him to the sin-bin. The resulting penalty goal by Dan Carter reduced the margin to three points at 15-12.
Conditions were humid and temperatures in the low-20s and both teams struggled with their handling through the first half.
Australia had an early scoring chance after first five-eighths Kurtley Beale ran the ball hard at the line and hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who was a significant force throughout, went close but both were contained by strong All Blacks defence with No.8 Kieran Read, lock Sam Whitelock and centre Conrad Smith all making key tackles.
The New Zealanders twice went close with halfback Aaron Smith losing the ball while diving for the line around a maul while fullback Israel Dagg slipped a kick through which allowed wing Hosea Gear to mount a chase, just being headed off by Australian fullback Mike Harris.
The All Blacks lost prop Tony Woodcock to the sin-bin just before the half-time break.
The Australian defensive effort minimised the scoring chances for the New Zealand side and early handling issues did not help either. There were few chances for the outside backs to shine as in earlier Test matches.
Australia 18 (Mike Harris 5 pen; Kurtley Beale pen) New Zealand 18 (Dan Carter 6 pen). HT: 12-6