Blackout: All Blacks' scintillating second-half set in motion by Wallabies' carelessness

A match that at halftime looked like it could be a turning point for this young Wallabies team was quickly engulfed by a black wave started by a piece of Aaron Smith brilliance that has only reinforced just how wide the trans-Tasman margin remains.

New Zealand's Bledisloe dominance on Saturday night edged another year closer to a two-decade blackout, as the All Blacks punished a Wallabies side that had been given a golden opportunity to take the lead and a genuine foothold in the match immediately after halftime.

After a brilliant chase and aerial take from Marika Koroibete from the Wallabies' kick-off, a determined Tate McDermott then dragged Ardie Savea for 10 metres, winning a penalty from referee Brendon Pickerill that meant an All Blacks player at last had to receive a yellow card following a raft of cynical first-half infringements.

Down just 21-15, with a one-man advantage, the Wallabies kicked to corner. If ever there was a lineout to win, this was it. But Brandon Paenga-Amosa fluffed his lines, and from there the Wallabies fluffed the second-half.

And the All Blacks simply embarked on a 36-point rampage that secured a 57-22 win and their highest ever points tally against the Wallabies.

"We were well beaten, and well beaten because we didn't treasure the ball well enough," Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said in his post-match press conference. "I thought we defended really well first half, a really physical first half, but we made some poor decisions defensively if we turned the ball over or if we kicked the ball poorly, and got exposed down short sides.

"And we threw a couple of intercepts when there was clear space in behind for us to put pressure on them, so it's disappointing."

The All Blacks' second-half stampede started with Smith's short-side dart, where he sucked in McDermott and found a beautiful inside pass for Codie Taylor who sprinted away to score while New Zealand were down a man.

You had to admire the champion No.9's break. Smith has made a habit of producing such brilliant plays across his 101-Test career after all.

But Matt To'omua's cut-out pass? That resulted in a second intercept try for the match and a third in seven days? That was just dumb, dumb, dumb from the Wallabies.

What followed Sevu Reece's run to the line was an All Blacks onslaught that showcased their supreme attack, committed support play and, ultimately, that they remain an almost unstoppable force when they smell blood in the water.

But this may as well have been a feeding frenzy of great white sharks in the second half.

With the Bledisloe locked away for another year, the All Blacks can look to rotate up some troops for the third encounter in Perth in two weeks' time. Beyond that, back-to-back Tests against Argentina are on the horizon.

But it's the closing two weeks of the Rugby Championship, when the All Blacks face the Springboks, that the rugby world is licking its lips in anticipation of. That will be a heavyweight confrontation for the ages. And a complete contrast of rugby styles.

On the other side of the ledger, Saturday night's defeat will be a devastating loss for the Wallabies.

Australia had played some excellent rugby for periods of the first half, showing an improving ability to build pressure and break down the All Blacks' defence when they were prepared to respect the ball.

But it was fool's gold. This Wallabies team simply does not learn from its mistakes.

As well as the first-half intercept that Rieko Ioane gleefully picked off for the game's opening try, which was on this occasion thrown by Lolesio, the Wallabies also otherwise gifted the All Blacks the possession and field position for New Zealand's other two first-half five-pointers.

A sensational run from Akira Ioane following a Wallabies turnover firstly set up a try for Brodie Retallick. Then, after Australia had just got themselves back into the match, a terrible exit from Noah Lolesio gave the All Blacks the ball just outside Australia's 22. From there, Richie Mo'unga, Dalton Papalii and Savea did the rest.

It's true Lolesio received a terrible pass from McDermott, but the Wallabies No. 10 still had to do more with his kick than hoist a bomb that barely crossed Australia's 22.

Still, the Wallabies managed to hang in the contest with a succession of dominant scrums, a smart sniping run from McDermott bringing about their second five-pointer of an otherwise decent first-half.

Australia had the momentum at that point, before Koroibete's play from the kick-off and Savea's sin-binning should have solidified it.

But, and it has the sound of badly broken record about it, the Wallabies again couldn't execute one of the game's key tasks. And it was a complete blackout from there.

"It was a big part of the game, wasn't it," Rennie said of the Wallabies' chance to continue their momentum immediately after halftime. "21-15, they're down a man, we've got a five-man lineout...not straight, but not the worst [lineout throw] I've seen, but fair enough. Then we defend poorly off that scrum and get penalised and we give up another penalty, and then a soft one [try].

"It's disappointing, that was a chance to ram it home."

With the likes of Smith, Reece, Ioane, Codie Taylor, Will Jordan and David Havili running riot, the second half was otherwise the All Blacks at their ruthless best. And they were running off a superb forward platform that their pack was setting with an increasing dominance to win both the collisions and the breakdown.

After last week's poor finish, when the Wallabies scored three late tries, the All Blacks were desperate to show that they are an 80-minute team. There was no doubting that fact on Saturday night, with Havili adding the exclamation point to a famous win with a try after the final siren.

"It's an improvement, I won't put a number on it or anything," All Blacks coach Ian Foster said when asked to compare Saturday night's performance with their 33-25 victory from last week. "But I think it was pretty obvious that even when we were under pressure we found a way out of there.

"I thought the leadership of Sam [Whitelock], and our other leaders, [their] composure was really, really good because we were under a lot of pressure there for spells, particularly in that first half.

"And so I think we made some big steps forward in that space."

And so the Bledisloe drought continues for Australia, only this latest chapter carries the added ugliness for the Wallabies of a record number of points conceded to New Zealand.

The Wallabies have had some ugly nights at Eden Park since they last won at there in 1986, but few will have been as deflating as the feeling at fulltime on Saturday night.

Particularly when it must have been so upbeat in the sheds only 40 minutes earlier.