"I love the attitude; I loved the way they kept hanging in; I loved the way we almost won the footy game", Meninga said.
New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak declared that the Kiwis would only continue to improve as they begun a new era for worldwide football by inflicting the first defeat in Mal Meninga's tenure as Australian coach.
The result will go a long way to restoring the New Zealand public's faith in the Kiwis after a slew of poor results and off-field issues.
"The papers tomorrow and the media tomorrow will be talking about the Kangaroos are vulnerable and we're at the stage in our transition where we have a bit of work to do".
"We came into camp to build foundations not only for us going forward but the Kiwis coming through and the kids after that", Watene-Zelezniak.
But the Kiwis fielded a strong side, including several players who featured in the Sydney Roosters win over Melbourne in last month's National Rugby League grand final. New Zealand was on a three-match losing streak in tests against all countries, and discouraged fans stayed away.
Earlier, five-eighth Luke Keary's Test debut was short-lived after he was taken off with a head knock in the 17th minute and did not return.
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Then, Memphis Depay doubled the lead with 3 minutes remaining, after a quick counter-attack. Striker Timo Werner said: "We missed out on scoring when we had the chances to do so".
Possession and field position favoured New Zealand and the home side nearly scored in the 18th minute when winger Ken Maumalo planted the ball on the touchline as he tried to dive over in the corner.
"People like Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich, they've faced adversity and what we saw, to come back in form the way they did", Maguire said.
Maumalo made amends 10 minutes later when he crossed out wide after prop Martin Taupau delivered his second offload in as many minutes having come off the interchange bench and captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak passed the ball through his legs.
The 26-24 scoreline flattered the Australians after they ran in two late tries - scores that could not counter a glut of rudimentary errors.
New Zealand trailed 12-8 at the break despite dominating possession and territory in the opening period. Last night's win was the Kiwis first over Australia since the 2015 Anzac Test...
Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium played host to a triple-header between the fierce sporting rivals on Saturday.