The Wallaroos have conceded three late tries in a fighting 39-8 loss to the Black Ferns in Auckland, losing the series 2-0 but showing glimpses of progression against the women's rugby world champions.
New Zealand scored five tries to one in a rugged contest at Eden Park on Saturday, finding it harder to breach the Australian defence than in last week's 47-10 humbling in Perth.
While the Wallaroos are still winless in 19 trans-Tasman Tests, this was one of their more competitive performances for 60 minutes, before the floodgates opened.
Coach Dwayne Nestor accused his team of being "bullied" physically in Perth so would have been pleased with the response.
The visitors enjoyed a marginal edge in possession and territory across the contest but lacked New Zealand's ruthless finishing.
Black Ferns five-eighth Ruahei Demant put the hosts up after bumping through some weak early defence but Australia firmed up and responded through a fine try to Mahalia Murphy.
The speedy winger received the ball on halfway and employed pace and two vicious fends to see off the cover defence.
Lock Eloise Blackwell's try then put New Zealand 17-8 up at halftime.
The Black Ferns could only manage a second penalty to Kendra Cocksedge in the third quarter but stretched the scoreline with late tries to outside centre Carla Hohepa plus forwards Charmaine McMenamin and Charmaine Smith.
There was a late milestone when reserve lock Rebecca Clough entered the game for her 24th cap, equalling the Wallaroos record of Tui Ormsby and Selena Tranter.