By John Davidson, Date: 2/12/17 (Photo Credit NRLPhotos)
In a World Cup final that will live long in the memory, Australia has defeated England 6-0 in the 2017 decider.
In front of 40,003 fans at Suncorp Stadium Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith capped off his dream year of NRL grand final, State of Origin, Dally M medal and Golden Boon award success with another World Cup win. Everything Smith touches, it seems, turns to gold.
A first half try to Boyd Cordner proved crucial in an unbelievably tight contest. Neither side gave an inch and neither side stopping trying until the final seconds. The match ebbed and flowed, with England mounting attack after attack on the Australian line in the final 15 minutes to no avail.
Considering England were largely written off before a ball had been kicked, it was a terrifically close encounter with little separating the two.
.@Kangaroos – The most successful team in Rugby League World Cup history. ?1957
Congratulations to the Kangaroos on winning the 2017 @RLWC2017 Final! @Crownbet #AUSvENG #RLWC2017 pic.twitter.com/cOvqXQWrUr
— 7RLWC (@7RLWC) December 2, 2017
Australia coach Mal Meninga described it as a “terrific game of footy”.
“You don’t get many 6-0 games in rugby league anymore,” he said.
“I’m just really proud of them. We knew it was going to be hard game. I expected it to be hard. I thought our preparation through the week was really, really good.
We knew what we needed to go. It was a special night for both side and a special night for rugby league. England has made some huge strides.”
England coach Wayne Bennett was equally proud after the match.
“I thought it was somewhere around State of Origin standard actually, the intensity of it by both teams,” he said.
“A lot times they were exhausted but they still found something, another effort on effort. It was pretty good stuff.”
Bennett believed execution was what left his team down.
“They probably had a little bit better ball control than we did,” he said.
“We had to do a bit more defending. [But] the Kangaroos were wonderful. It’s a pity there has to be a loser on a night like this. Someone’s got to win, someone’s got to lose.”
Bennett refuse to blame any refereeing decisions on the loss.
“That’s football mate, it’s going to happen every week,” he said.
Bennett’s contract with England is now up. Asked if he would like to stay on in his post, the coach would not be drawn.
“I’m not talking about it tonight,” the 67-year-old said.
“I’m not in a good state to talk about those things.”
Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith praised England’s display.
“They were very good,” he said.
“We didn’t really spend a lot of time down their end. They played a great game of football tonight. The last time an Australia side won a World Cup soil was 40 years ago. The 2017 Kangaroos made history tonight.”
Try: Cordner. Goal Smith.