By John Davidson, Date: 14/11/16
England’s long drought against Australia continues as the Kangaroos have romped to a 36-18 win in London.
It will be an all-trans-Tasman Four Nations final, with Australia meeting New Zealand in Liverpool, after England’s second defeat of the competition.
England juggled its line-up with Kevin Brown and Gareth Widdop starting in the halves, with George Williams on the bench and Daryl Clark omitted.
The home started well with a number of good hits on the Kangaroos.
In the 11th minute England took a two-point lead through a Gareth Widdop penalty.
The Kangaroos evened it up six minutes later from the boot of Johnathan Thurston, after Kallum Watkins hit Cooper Cronk late after he had kicked the ball.
Australia started to enjoy a number of sets on England’s line, but the home team’s defence was resolute and needed to be.
On the back of two consecutive penalties England got the first try of the game in the 25th minute.
The ball came to the right and Jonny Lomax found Jermaine McGillvary in space for the Huddersfield winger to fly over.
Widdop couldn’t convert from out wide but England had the lead 6-2.
In the 29th minute Valentine Holmes lost possession in the tackle to give England a great attacking chance.
They went left and Mark Percival almost crashed over, but couldn’t keep his St Helens teammate Lomax’s pass.
But six minutes later Blake Ferguson responded for the Aussies. After a penalty the Kangaroos created an overlap on the right for Blake Ferguson to touch down.
Thurston’s kick from the sideline was good to put Australia in front 8-6.
Right on half-time Sam Burgess knocked down Boyd Cordner off the ball, to gift Australia two points.
Thurston nailed it and Australia’s lead was 10-6 at the break.
In the second half the Aussies turned the screws, running in three tries in a dynamic 13 minutes.
First Greg Inglis barged over after a set move from the back of a scrum.
Then Matt Scott burrowed over using pure strength. Then Cooper Cronk broke through the middle to put Josh Dugan over.
Suddenly Australia was cruising at 28-6.
England did replay with a try to Gareth Widdop after a strong run. But the Kangaroos raided England’s in-goal again – Matt Gillett busting through some poor try-line defence.
In the aftermath Sam Burgess landed a punch in the face of David Klemmer.
In the final six minutes rival wingers Ryan Hall and Valentine Holmes both crossed, but the day belonged to Australia.
On this viewing they will take some stopping in a week’s time.
Tries: J. McGillvary, G. Widdop, R. Hall. Goals: G.Widdop 3
B. Ferguson, G. Inglis, M. Scott, J. Dugan, M. Gillett, V. Holmes. Goals J.Thurston 6
1 Jonny Lomax
2 Jermaine McGillvary
3 Kallum Watkins
4 Mark Percival
5 Ryan Hall
6 Kevin Brown
7 Gareth Widdop
8 Chris Hill
9 Josh Hodgson
10 James Graham
11 John Bateman
12 Elliott Whitehead
13 Sam Burgess ©
14 Thomas Burgess
15 George Burgess
16 Mike Cooper
17 George Williams
1 Darius Boyd
2 Valentine Holmes
3 Greg Inglis
4 Josh Dugan
5 Blake Ferguson
6 Johnathan Thurston
7 Cooper Cronk
8 Matt Scott
9 Cameron Smith ©
10 Aaron Woods
11 Boyd Cordner
12 Matt Gillett
13 Trent Merrin
14 David Klemmer
15 Michael Morgan
16 Tyson Frizell
17 Sam Thaiday