But with the side's strong finish and the impact from their bench, Rennie said he was happy with the character the Wallabies showed, especially when compared to what had happened a year earlier in Sydney when they were hammered for their choices.
"For a big chunk of the game we defended well but as you know with the All Blacks you have to do it for 80 minutes," he said.
They were excited with the prospect of having a second chance on Eden Park at the weekend, he said.
Rennie wasn't critical of goal-kicker Noah Lolesio's off-night with his boot. Conditions were tough and All Blacks' kicker Richie Mo'unga had also missed some shots. Lolesio had shown his worth in kicking penalties to help win the recent French series.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said Lolesio would benefit from the experience.
He was pleased with aspects of the Australian performance, especially the way they finished.
"We've been a team that finishes strong so far this year, which is really pleasing. We got plenty of heart and put them under heaps of pressure at the end with different parts of our game," he said.
"Our attacking, our maul, we had them under pressure, that's pleasing, we've just got to do it for longer.
Hooper said some of the decisions around the breakdown law variations made it tough to perform.
"It's a hard part to get right. There are so many legs and bodies and stuff in that close-quarter contact zone, it's hard to keep your feet. We've got to be better if that's the way they're going to rule and it is, because we've heard that down from World Rugby, we've got to be better there, particularly in that close-quarter zone," he said.
Australia's lineout variations offered a view of how they might look to disrupt the All Blacks in the remaining two Tests.
"We put New Zealand under pressure there by changing the picture a bit. We know with the experience of [Sam] Whitelock and Brodie [Retallick], they're going to put us under a bit of pressure, we've got to manage a couple of things before the ball's thrown.
"It's not just a thrower thing, it's our whole lineout there that can make some minor shifts to win some of that ball, but we expected their defence to be good, and they proved us right," he said.
Hooper said it had been good to be able to manipulate that a little and to finish strong.