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Australia v England as it happened


Australia 52-4 England

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By Phil Harlow

1059: In all honesty, I don't know where to start. England were absolutely dreadful from start to finish other than a 10-minute spell of first-half respectability. Where do they go from here?

On that positive note, I'm going to call to a day on this live text.

And the highlights - if you can bear to watch them - will be on this website and the red button later today.

1057: Ever the patriot, my mate Dave had a treble on England's cricketers winning the Standford Series, England's rugby league team beating Australia and Lewis Hamilton winning the F1 title. Not really looking the best bet now.
1053: "This reminds me of the shambles the England rugby union team were against South Africa in the group stages of the World Cup. Let's hope the league boys can turn their form round as quickly!"
Rupert the Optimist via text on 81111

1051: "You Poms are a disgrace. You talk your game up so much but as soon as you get over here, you are awful - PNG are better."

1049: "In terms of the preparation and the level of expectation, that probably has to go down as out worst ever defeat by Australia."
BBC Sport commentator Dave Woods

80 mins: Australia start their last set and kick for Mark Calderwood to get clattered. England are waiting for the final hooter and it comes with Keith Senior playing the ball, inside his own half.

That is England's biggest ever World Cup defeat and the biggest thrashing of this year's World Cup so far. How will England be able to bounce back from a humiliating thrashing? The players look absolutely shell-shocked.

77 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 52-4 England
That's the half century for Australia as Anthony Laffranchi ambles forward and gets on the end of a simple kick from Scott Prince. There are England defenders around, but nobody reacts quickly enough. Prince kicks the conversion from in front.

74 mins: Maurie Fa'asavalu goes on a marauding run on halfway, skittling a couple of Australian tacklers but then an ambitious offload to Mark Calderwood goes wrong, bouncing straight into touch.

72 mins: England's kicking game has been abysmal, simple as that. Kevin Sinfield has another go and it rolls well over the deadball line to hand possession back to the Aussies.

70 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 46-4 England
This try graphic is getting used a little too often now. Billy Slater becomes the second Australian player to claim a hat-trick of tries. The outstanding full-back bursts into the line yet again, runs on the angle and goes through Leon Pryce and Martin Gleeson to cross out on the left.

Another great kick from Scott Prince and Australia are closing in on the 50-point mark.

65 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 40-4 England
Goodness gracious me, I can barely keep up with this. England take a short kick-off, Keith Senior taps it back and Greg Inglis - from a good 5m away - reacts far quicker than three or four England players to go over from halfway. Scott Prince gets the conversion from in front of the sticks and England just want the final whistle.

That's Inglis's hat-trick, by the way.

63 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 34-4 England
A breathtaking score from Billy Slater as he goes from one tryline to the other in the space of a few electrifying seconds for a magnificent try.

Danny McGuire's kick bounces straight into his hands and in the flash of an eye he darts past Adey Gardner and sets off for a foot race to the line. The covering Mark Calderwood gets to him, but Slater goes inside and out and scores. Unbelievable. Scott Prince lands a great conversion.

60 mins: This is almost too easy for Australia. England win a penalty and move downfield, working a hint of an overlap on the left flank. But Keith Senior decides to cut back on the angle and run back into traffic - and to compound the problem he drops the ball in contact.

55 mins: TRY Australia 28-4 England
This is turning from bad to worse for England as winger Joel Monaghan crosses the line in the corner after a flat - some might say marginally forward - pass from Billy Slater puts him into space.

Scott Prince misses the conversion, but it hardly matters now. Darren Lockyer is absolutely bossing the game and England have no answer.

53 mins: To think people were writing Darren Lockyer off a few months ago. The Aussie captain dances through the defensive line, banging Paul Wellens out of the way before a great tackle by Danny McGuire stops him inches short.

Two points
51 mins: PEN Australia 24-4 England The Kangaroos are turning the screw and trying to stretch even further in front. Danny McGuire gets pinged for a spear tackle 30m out and Scott Prince steps up and slots the kick from in front of the sticks.

50 mins: Billy Slater slices through England's defence as he takes a short ball out of the tackle. He beats Paul Wellens for pace, but the covering Mark Calderwood makes a good tackle to stop him.

48 mins: Sorry, but that was embarrassing. England's basics totally desert them as a series of passes miss their intended target and bounce along the floor. Adey Gardner bumps into his own player and falls on his backside - if I wasn't English, I might be laughing at the minute.

"What is this? Chuckle Brothers do rugby? Dropping the ball, bumping into each other..."
HailThePocketRocket on 606

47 mins: Billy Slater totally loses Kevin Sinfield's high kick in flight and knocks it on, but England are not quite on the ball as it goes loose. Still, they get the scrum and have a chance to build some pressure.

45 mins: Another let-off for England as Scott Prince's dink over the top falls into Billy Slater's lap, but the full-back knocks on with the line at his mercy.

43 mins: Scott Prince's kick behind forced Mark Calderwood to run it out and that's a goal-line drop-out - that's the third defensive set in a row for England to contend with, not the start to the second half they had in mind.

42 mins: Almost an interception for Jon Wilkin as he pounces on a loose offload from Anthony Tupou, but he cannot hold on to it. A missed opportunity.

41 mins: We're back under way at the Telstra Dome and England try something different as they put in a short kick-off - but they fail to get any white shirts there in time to contest it.

1001: "England's attitude is all wrong when things are going badly. They need to communicate better and always be upbeat. It's so frustrating watching them being so negative, especially in the early stages..."
hullfclaydee on 606

0958: The sense of despondency has even affected our very own Mr Rugby League Paul Fletcher, watching the game at home. Even on Saturday, he rated his excitement levels as 10/10, but there's no sign of it now.

"What's that on the wall? Big writing" is his text take on the situation.

0956: We can see England's players getting a half-time talking to in the changing room, and I think it's fair to say their body language does not exactly inspire you with confidence. Apart from a 10-minute spell around James Roby's try, they just have not been at the races in the Telstra Dome.
0952: "Burrow, Graham and Roby have been very impressive, Wellens and Pryce have been absolutely awful."
CherryPie on 606
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40 mins: The half-time hooter goes, and a shell-shocked England trudge off knowing the game is all but gone after a horrible 40 minutes. Australia have been clinical but have hardly needed to hit the heights so far.

What on earth is coach Tony Smith - who looks as if he is going to lose his unbeaten record as an international coach - going to say to his players at the break?

37 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 22-4 England
England pay a heavy price for Paul Wellens' mistake as Anthony Laffranchi takes a short ball and goes through two tacklers to score a straightforward try. England have just not got going, and it is a hugely disappointing showing so far.

The simple conversion goes over from Scott Prince and this is all just going wrong for an England side who went into the game making all the right noises about belief and confidence.

35 mins: A bad mistake from the normally dependable Paul Wellens puts his side in real trouble. Waiting for a long kick to roll over the deadball line, Wellens has one foot in play and one foot out.

After the ball rolls over the line he picks it up and starts to run back in anticipation of a 20m restart, but referee Tony Archer tells him it's a goal-line drop-out. Nightmare stuff.

31 mins: TRY Australia 16-4 England
Brilliant play from Darren Lockyer as he waits for his runners to be in the perfect position before releasing it to Greg Inglis who scores from a seemingly impossible position out wide, dotting the ball down with four England tacklers desperately trying to stop him.

Australia have hardly had the ball for the last seven or eight minutes, but the first genuine chance they get, they take it. Scott Prince misses with the conversion, but England are staring down the barrel.

29 mins: England put in a great defensive set, restricting Australia to their own half - but they go and spoil it on the last, straying offside as Darren Lockyer desperately tries to run it on the last.

From the resulting pressure, Australia start to make some inroads before an Anthony Tupou knock-on stops their momentum.

27 mins: Another Australia mistake as Brent Kite makes an amateurish handling error to hand the ball back to England again. England win another set as a kick in behind forces Israel Folau to dot down behind his line.

England are trying everything to get through, but Kite makes some amends with a great series of tackles as Tony Smith's men go for the line.

25 mins: Australia are starting to make a couple of mistakes and a lost ball inside their 20 gives England every chance of closing the gap. England probe left and right, but they can't quite find the breakthrough before an attempted Gareth Ellis offload goes awry.

23 mins: That's a bit more like it. England have finally got some spark about them with Paul Wellens going through a couple of tackles, and soon after scrum-half Rob Burrow ducks under a challenge and makes 25m before winning a penalty as Brent Tate has a second go at him.

20 mins: TRY Australia 12-4 England
England win a penalty for a high tackle on Martin Gleeson, and from the resulting tap James Roby bursts over from dummy-half and shows great power and strength to take five tacklers over the line with him. There's a fair degree of doubt about the grounding of the ball, but the video referee gives him the benefit of the doubt and England are back in it.

Kevin Sinfield's conversion drifts just wide of the posts, but at least England have something to cling on to now.

17 mins: A brilliant kick by Darren Lockyer turns England full-back Paul Wellens, and when the Saints star gathers the ball he is smashed by the onrushing Greg Inglis. That is how to play the kicking game.

The contrast is shown moments later as a poor kick by Leon Pryce is taken by Billy Slater, who is eventually tackled on halfway.

14 mins: A rare Australia mistake hands possession back to England and then a penalty gives them some much-needed territory. England go close through some muscular runs from Leon Pryce and James Graham, but a dropped ball sees possession going back to the Kangaroos at the scrum.

12 mins: England are half asleep out there as they run it on the last tackle on halfway, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it was the fifth tackle. Not good.

9 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 6-0 England
A terrible start for England as some feeble tackling allows Greg Inglis to simply glide through with the merest hint of a dummy. Inglis brushes off Leon Pryce and Paul Wellens to go over with ease, and Prince follows it up with the conversion.

8 mins: Worrying signs for England as Rob Burrow sends up an aimless high ball at the end of their set. It goes straight up in the air and Australia end up with a penalty as an offside Kevin Sinfield tries to collect. England have not settled so far.

5 mins: TRY & CONVERSION Australia 6-0 England
Not what England wanted - an early try for Australia as full-back Billy Slater gets on the end of Scott Prince's clever kick in behind the defence to touch down. Australia really made the most of that second set, and it will be a real test of character for Jamie Peacock and co now.

Prince slots the conversion and England have it all to do.

3 mins: The first penalty of the match goes against England with Gareth Ellis penalised for holding on in the tackle. Australia set up camp in England territory, but some exemplary defence keeps them out.

But it's an inauspicious start for Mark Calderwood as the first high kick that comes his way is dropped, forcing England to drop out under the sticks.

1 min: After a solid first set, a great hit by Kevin Sinfield knocks Billy Slater - returning Leon Pryce's kick - clean off his feet. That should get England fired up.

0856: The two teams emerge from the tunnel, walking side by side with a real sense of purpose. To say England captain Jamie Peacock looks up for it would probably be something of an understatement.

We've got the obligatory slightly oversung national anthems out of the way, and Darren Lockyer kicks off with a deep kick to James Graham. Here we go...

0855: "What a cracking game this could be. I can't see passed the Aussies personally, but on their day England could pull it off - provided its not Australia's day too. Australia by 12."
Dave from Drighlington, Leeds via text on 81111

0849: A reminder of the teams on show in Melbourne.

Australia: Slater, Monaghan, Inglis, Folau, Tate, Lockyer, Prince, Civoniceva, Smith, Price, Stewart, Laffranchi, Gallen. Replacements: Hunt, Perry, Tupou, Kite.

England: Wellens, Gardner, Gleeson, Senior, Calderwood, Pryce, Burrow, Morley, Roby, Graham, Peacock, Ellis, Sinfield. Replacements: Fa'asavalu, Hock, McGuire, Wilkin.

Referee: Tony Archer (Australia)

0845: "The big X-factor in this match is England scrum-half Rob Burrow - he has to step up to the plate. England could perish if he doesn't."
BBC Sport summariser Ian Millward on Radio 5 Live

0835: Two pieces of breaking team news from Australia, with England enforcer Adrian Morley starting at prop and captain Jamie Peacock moving to the second row. Gareth Hock has to settle for a place on the bench.

Meanwhile for Australia, scrum-half Johnathan Thurston is ruled out with a shoulder injury and replaced by Scott Prince. What impact do you think that will have on the match? Thurston was so influential last week for the Kangaroos against New Zealand, and - good as Prince is - he hasn't played since the end of the NRL season.

There's more than 4,000 England fans inside the Telstra Dome, and the roof is on. Very humid, according to former St Helens coach Ian Millward who is inside as part of the BBC's team.

0825: Morning everyone. We have got a game of rugby league on or hands today, and no mistake.

In about half an hour's time, the whistle will go and we'll smack, bang in the middle of one of the biggest games the sport can produce as Australia, the defending champions and red-hot favourites, take on England at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

The Aussie media have been at it in their own inimitable fashion, with the Daily Telegraph's memorable "Usual Suspects" treatment par for the course.

Having kept a lid on the excitement for the last few weeks or so, it's almost time to let it all go.

So let me know how you see this game going.
Join the debate

Rugby League World Cup : Group A Table
09 November 2008 10:42
  Team P PD PTS
1 Australia 3 112 6
2 New Zealand 3 30 4
3 England 3 -50 2
4 Papua New Guinea 3 -92 0

Rugby League World Cup : Group B Table
05 November 2008 12:59
  Team P PD PTS
1 Fiji 2 34 2
2 Scotland 2 -16 2
3 France 2 -18 2

Rugby League World Cup : Group C Table
05 November 2008 09:52
  Team P PD PTS
1 Ireland 2 16 2
2 Tonga 2 -6 2
3 Samoa 2 -10 2

see also
Stuart promises no Aussie let-up
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Smith left humbled by record loss
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 52-4 England
02 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia v England - key battles
31 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Burrow is up to task, says Smith
31 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Calderwood set to face Australia
30 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Smith demands England improvement
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
England 32-22 Papua New Guinea
25 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 30-6 New Zealand
26 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup squads
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup 2008 fixtures
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup Quiz
17 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup 2008 - players to watch
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup on the BBC
06 Oct 08 |  Rugby League

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