Robbie Deans got off to a winning start as Australia coach on Saturday as Ireland came up short for the second weekend running, losing 18-12.
When Deans took over from the outgoing John Connolly last month he promised to bring a new attacking style of play, but the Wallabies were made to work hard for the victory by a determined Irish outfit.
The visitors lost out to New Zealand 21-11 last weekend and it was a similar story again at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome.
Both teams scored two tries, with Matt Giteau's two penalties proving the difference between the sides.
Giteau's partnership with half-back Luke Burgess worked well for the majority of the night, but the Wallabies will need to improve dramatically if they are to trouble the All Blacks later this year.
Ireland battled hard all night, but lacked the killer punch in attack and often turned the ball over with some sloppy mistakes close to their line.
Full-back Robert Kearney put in another polished performance and was duly rewarded with the man-of-the-match award, while the visitors’ forward pack more than matched Australia's.
It did not take long for Australia to get on the board, with Berrick Barnes crossing over for his third Test try after only five minutes, much to the delight of the crowd of nearly 42,000.
After some fine work from Burgess, Giteau and George Smith, Lote Tuqiri made a superb run down the left wing, before popping a ball up for Barnes to score a simple five-pointer.
Giteau's conversion sailed wide, leaving the hosts with a 5-0 lead, but Ireland were quick to hit back.
After utilising their effective pick-up-and-drive technique close to the line, Ireland managed to win a line-out metres from the line and had the Wallabies on the back foot.
After winning the line-out, Denis Leamy barged over to level the scores, before an accurate conversion from Ronan O'Gara gave the Irish a surprise 7-5 lead after 15 minutes.
It was some magic from Giteau that put the Wallabies back in front six minutes later, with the star fly-half making a run down the middle before offloading to James Horwill with a tricky back-handed flick.
The Wallabies lock planted the ball down next to the uprights and when Giteau nailed the simple conversion, the home side led 12-7 after 21 minutes.
Giteau then increased the Wallabies' lead to eight with a long penalty, but Ireland continued to attack.
On the stroke of half-time, Ireland won a penalty 25 metres out, but Peter Stringer surprisingly decided to take a quick tap, which backfired almost immediately.
Stringer pushed the ball wide and it soon went dead as the Wallabies took a 15-7 lead into the break.
A handling mistake from Ireland shortly after the resumption put the visitors on the retreat and the error led to a penalty for the Wallabies in front of goal.
Giteau was successful with his shot at goal as the home side increased their lead to 18-7, but the Irish continued to attack the home line.
When Barnes attempted an enterprising kick out to the left wing, Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll made a spectacular intercept and looked set to run half the field and score.
However, he ran out of puff and Ireland turned the ball over once again when on the attack.
But moments later, Ireland were back in the match when O'Driscoll scored a try after some lovely lead-up work from Kearney and reserve Tony Buckley.
O'Gara could not land the conversion, leaving the visitors trailing by six at 12-18 with a little under a quarter of the game remaining.
And despite enjoying the better field position in the final 15 minutes, Ireland failed to capitalise as the Wallabies’ defence held firm and the home side held on for a workmanlike victory.