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England 16-46 Australia

England (10) 16
Tries: Burgess 2, Fox Goals: Sinfield 2
Australia (14) 46
Tries: Morris 2, Inglis, Slater 3, Smith, Hayne Goals: Thurston 7

Billy Slater

Highlights - England 16-46 Australia

By Aimee Lewis

Six tries in the final 27 minutes allowed Australia to maintain their dominance over England and win the Four Nations with a thrilling 46-16 victory.

Sam Burgess and Peter Fox scored two early tries, but it was Australia who went into the break 14-10 ahead.

England went 16-14 ahead just before the hour thanks to Burgess' second.

But Australia were ruthless as a Billy Slater hat-trick and Brett Morris, Jarryd Hayne and Cameron Smith touchdowns secured a comfortable win.

Earlier in the week, a survey taken by an Australian newspaper found that 82% of Australians were backing the Kangaroos for victory.

The Antipodeans' confidence was justified as just a few weeks ago they had confidently dispatched the hosts 26-16 and memories of the heavy 52-4 defeat at last year's World Cup still remained strong.

Victory over Australia at Elland Road would therefore have been British rugby league's greatest triumph since Great Britain lifted the World Cup back in 1972.

But despite the final scoreline, there were moments when England stood toe-to-toe with their rivals and seemed to be ready and able to make history.

England impressed in a breathtaking, end-to-end first half and quickly took the lead thanks to a coruscating Burgess try.

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess scores the first try of the match as England take a 6-0 lead

The NRL-bound 20-year-old dummied once and then outpaced a bamboozled defence to score underneath the post for a try which Sinfield converted.

Moments later, Burgess had the crowd on their feet once again when he burst through, only to opt for another dummy when a pass to Sam Tomkins would probably have been a better option.

It was a missed chance the hosts were to rue as the ruthless Kangaroos went upfield and scored, with Morris diving over in the corner and Thurston converting to level matters.

Australia were, however, making uncharacteristic handling errors, which was testimony to the pressure the England players were putting them under.

England deservedly scored a second try, Fox touching down in the corner in the 19th minute after outjumping Hayne to grab Kyle Eastmond's precise crosskick.


But Australia's response was to shrug their shoulders and score one of the tries of the tournament.

The quick-thinking Smith and Thurston created space for Hayne, whose brilliant grubber kick dissected the England defence. The rest was left to the impressive Greg Inglis.

The centre, who was named as the Golden Boot winner after the game, outpaced the opposition and, according to the video referee, got his hands on the ball.

Thurston converted and then added a penalty as Australia controlled the final stages of the half.

Indeed, the visitors perhaps should have been further ahead only for a crunching Shaun Briscoe tackle on Inglis to thwart what looked like an almost certain score.

Sensing perhaps that history was beckoning, England began the second half with purpose and it was Burgess, put through by a lovely Gareth Ellis pass, who finished a sustained period of pressure with a lovely try.

Sinfield converted and with England 16-14 ahead the Elland Road crowd raised their voice to almost deafening levels.

Yet, just as in the first half, England's lead was short-lived as three minutes later Slater crawled over the tryline to nudge Australia ahead.

It was Sinfield who conceded the penalty just inside his own half which allowed the side in green and gold to move upfield to such devastating effect.

Billy Slater
Slater scored a hat-trick in an impressive display

Just before the hour a brilliant Thurston kick into the corner found Morris, who got his hands on the ball to score in the corner, for what was the turning point of the game.

England were forced to change their line-up when Michael Shenton was stretchered off after a clash of heads with prop Ben Hannant.

And the ferocity of the battle seemed to have an affect on the rest of the England players as Australia dominated, with the quick-witted Slater punishing England.

Slater, just as he was heading towards the deadball line, leapt into the air and tapped Darren Lockyer's kick back towards Smith, who scored underneath the posts.

Thurston converted before Slater went over for an easy converted try which all but sealed the Four Nations title for the southern hemisphere side.

Lockyer carved open the England defence once again as Hayne scored out wide before Slater completed his hat-trick to make it 46-16 for the visitors with two minutes remaining.

In the end, Australia won the inaugural competition with ease and England left the field scratching their heads, wondering if they will ever beat the formidable green and golds when it matters.

England: S Briscoe (Hull KR); P Fox (Hull KR), C Bridge (Warrington), M Shenton (Castleford), R Hall (Leeds); S Tomkins (Wigan), K Eastmond (St Helens); A Morley (Warrington), K Sinfield (Leeds), J Graham (St Helens), J Peacock (Leeds, capt), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), S Burgess (Bradford).

Replacements: J Roby (St Helens), E Crabtree (Huddersfield), B Westwood (Warrington), J Wilkin (St Helens).

Australia: B Slater (Melbourne); J Hayne (Parramatta), G Inglis (Melbourne), J Hodges (Brisbane), B Morris (St George Illawarra); D Lockyer (Brisbane, capt), J Thurston (North Queensland); P Civoniceva (Penrith), C Smith (Melbourne), B Hannant (Canterbury), L Lewis (Penrith), P Gallen (Cronulla), N Hindmarsh (Parramatta).

Replacements: S Thaiday (Brisbane), A Watmough (Manly), K Gidley (Newcastle), B White (Melbourne).

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see also
England deserved better - Smith
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
Inglis takes Golden Boot honour
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England v Australia as it happened
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England unchanged for final match
12 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
Kiwi Williamson to referee final
11 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England eye revenge over Aussies
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
England 20-12 New Zealand
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
France 4-42 Australia
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby League
France 12-62 New Zealand
31 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
England 16-26 Australia
31 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Australia 20-20 New Zealand
24 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
England 34-12 France
23 Oct 09 |  Rugby League
Great Britain 4-44 Australia
27 Nov 04 |  Rugby League
Four Nations fixtures and results
14 Nov 09 |  Rugby League

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