Australia scored 18 unanswered second-half points to claim a 16th straight rugby league Test victory 30-18 over a gallant New Zealand in Sydney on Friday.
Rated little chance before kick-off, the inexperienced Kiwis more than held their own and led 18-12 at halftime before being overhauled in the second half by the World Cup champions, who only iced the victory with a Cooper Cronk try seven minutes from time.
The win extended Australia's unbeaten record in the Anzac Test (held in April or May) to 16 years since their last loss in the early season international in Auckland in 1998.
It was also a record-equalling 16th successive Test victory, matching the golden run of Australia's "Invincibles" from 1979 to 1983.
Yet despite Australia's expected win, the Kiwis can take great credit from a display that was full of character and commitment from a side containing five debutants and without many star players due to injury.
Only five who played in the 34-2 World Cup final defeat last November were included by Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney.
Despite their relative inexperience, the fired-up Kiwis scored three first-half tries through Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Sam Moa.
The Australians were off their game and went into halftime with converted tries from Greg Bird and Brett Morris.
The Kangaroos levelled the score 12 minutes after the restart through Brett Morris's second try.
Shaun Johnson botched an opportunity to give his New Zealand side a great field position when he failed to find touch from a penalty.
The Kiwis paid for that slip-up, with Greg Inglis crossing on the hour following a third successive set of six tackles.
Cooper Cronk added some gloss to the result late with Thurston completing a flawless night with the boot with his fifth goal.
Thurston won his fifth man-of-the-match award from his last six appearances for his country.
Australia's last defeat against all-comers at Test level was at the hands of New Zealand in the 2010 Four Nations final in Brisbane.