Foley poleaxed in bone-rattling All Blacks tackle

Bernard Foley was smashed by one of the year's hardest tackles during the Wallabies' drought-breaking Bledisloe Cup win over the All Blacks.

The Wallabies finally snapped their Bledisloe Cup losing streak, toppling the All Blacks 23-18 in a thriller at a rain-drenched Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

The third Test of the series might have been a dead rubber but Michael Cheika's men had a point to prove on Saturday night to their trans-Tasman enemies - and they did it, ending a run of seven straight defeats to score their first win over New Zealand since August 2015.

Australia scored three tries to two, showing new-found grit to close out the match as New Zealand mounted a late rally in front of 45,107 supporters who braved constant rain.

Two crunch second-half penalties from Reece Hodge - in the 64th and 78th minutes, both from beyond the halfway line - iced it for the Wallabies.

The Aussies were 20-13 up midway through the second half when Foley suffered a moment he'd rather forget - bursting onto a short pass from scrumhalf Will Genia.

All Blacks reserve prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi read the play to perfection and stopped Foley in his tracks with a bone-rattling tackle.

Roars went up from the commentators as the ball popped free from Foley's grasp under the sheer force of the brutal contact.

To his credit, Foley showed a level of toughness that belies his stature as he got back to his feet promptly, despite being absolutely poleaxed.

Foley was absolutely smashed in the second half. Pic: Getty

The Wallabies gave as good as it got and it took a ferocious defensive effort in the second half to repel the rallying All Blacks.

For once though, the Wallabies were able to protect their hard-earned lead and grind out a terrific, hard-earned result.

It was only a dead rubber but the expressions on players' faces showed just what it meant after a year where Australian Super Rugby sides lost all 26 matches against Kiwi opposition.

But coach Michael Cheika was quick to put it into context.

"As enjoyable as the win was, the disappointment of not winning the cup still resonates for me," he said.

"We're certainly not going to be making any mistakes, starting to blow trumpets or anything like that.

"We worked hard, we fought for the game - it could have gone either way at the end very easily and you could have been sitting here saying you lost again."

Cheika told his players at halftime that it would come down to the last five minutes and his words were prophetic.

"You're not going to defeat the world champion with 20 minutes to go. It just doesn't happen," he said.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out the game's going to pretty much go down to the last few minutes because they're so dangerous at any stage."