Rugby League: Michael Maguire feels something special is in the future of his Kiwis side

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire insists this is just the start of something special following their shock 26-24 win over the Kangaroos in Auckland on Saturday.

New Zealand headed into the match as underdogs but defied the odds, beating Australia for the first time since 2015 and snapping a five-game losing streak against their trans-Tasman rivals.

In front of 12,763 at Mt Smart Stadium, new captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak inspired his team to a famous win. They were made to work hard - after trailing 12-8 at halfback, the Kiwis shot out to a 26-12 lead before the Roos scored two late tries to set up a thrilling finish.

It's the first win under coach Michael Maguire in his second match in charge as they now head over to England for three tests, full of confidence from their performance.

"It's very special but I also know it's only the start," said Maguire.

"We've got to continually back up these type of performances and that's when you can start talking about the team and where we're going. It's okay to do it tonight but we've got to reflect that over this next tour. We need to lay the platform and that's what this period of time is all about.

"If they're prepared to do what they did this week and keep improving and working hard, then this team can go to a great place."

The win was extra-special in particular for Watene-Zelezniak, leading his country for the first time. The 23-year-old's great-grandfather, Steve Watene, was the first Māori captain of the Kiwis in the 1930s.

"Words can't describe it," he said. "It was definitely something I'll remember for the rest of my life and be able to tell my kids, and maybe my grandkids one day."

Maguire was pull of praise for the team's two debutants in the match. Hooker Brandon Smith and centre Joseph Manu both scored tries and played pivotal roles in the two-point win.

"Young Brandon hasn't played a lot of hooker throughout the year but he just put his hand up, kept working hard and did what was needed for the team.

"Joey came up with some special moments. He's a talented young man and to watch him grow over the years, I'm looking forward to that in the Kiwis."

Maguire also took time to single out forwards Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor. The pair were not considered for selection for last year's World Cup after they were caught consuming a white substance on a police CCTV camera. But Maguire decided to bring them back, and that decision was a smart one.

"They've faced adversity, and I think what we saw from those two to come back and play the way they did was great," he added.

"They turned the adversity into a strength in where we want to be. Those two boys put their hands up and they performed well."