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Page last updated at 07:14 GMT, Sunday, 31 October 2010

Four Nations - Australia v England as it happened


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By Peter Scrivener

0940: Well, that's it from me this morning. Thanks for reading and if you can bring yourself to go through the best and worst bits, we'll have highlights of the game on BBC 2 at 1705 GMT and that programme will also be streamed live on this website for UK users only.

0935: England can have no complaints there after being outplayed in Melbourne. The defeat ends their hopes of reaching the Four Nations final which will be played between Australia and New Zealand in a fortnight's time. The Kangaroos and the Kiwis meet next week in a dress rehearsal for the final. For England, they have to pick themselves up to face Papua New Guinea next weekend in Auckland.

Full time

78 mins: A solid Burgess tackle on Tate turns the ball over but they are unable to take advantage after another handling error sees the ball back in Australia's possession. Willie Tonga then spills the ball to give England a scrum with 30 seconds remaining but Billy Slater is alive to a quick kick through.

75 mins: Burgess and Roby combine well in midfield as England look to end the game on a high. A weak Robinson kick looks to have ended the move though, but Billy Slater uncharacteristically knocks on to give England a scrum. And England are over the line again, but O'Loughlin is held up - no need for the video ref this time.

70 mins: That looked harsh on Lunt. It looked from my angle as though he had put the ball down on the whitewash. England go again though, although any thoughts of reaching the final are long gone.

68 mins: The video ref can't decide whether Lunt managed to put the ball down on the line, so it's back to the Australian referee who says he was held up short.

68 mins: Lots of unhappy looking Aussies in the crowd - and it's not because we're off to the video referee for a possible England try. They are all sitting in the front rows of the stands and they are getting a real soaking.

Derby County midfielder and 5 live pundit Robbie Savage feels England are getting a raw deal from the ref. He tweets : "Referee in game England v Aus is so biased it's untrue!"

65 mins: More scrappy play from England. Eorl Crabtree tries to offload the ball in a tackle but only manages to send it to ground. A scrabble ensues before England finally get the ball back. Another handling error though. The Aussies have dealt well with the wet conditions, England haven't.

It's raining
63 mins: The rain continues to teem down and there's a chase on into the England in-goal area after Cooper Cronk kicks straight from a scrum. The England defence is alert to the danger though. From the resultant drop-out it takes four England players to prevent Paul Gallen from crossing.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
From Mart in Hull, via text on 81111: "Why cant england produce any players with a decent kicking game? Again we are getting kicked to death."

After a bit of confusion, Smith kicks over the penalty, which was awarded after an England player flopped down late on a tackle. Australia 34-14 England.


59 mins: Bit of confusion around an Australia penalty inside the 20m line. Cameron Smith drops the ball onto his foot and a couple of England players think he is taking a tap and go in to make the tackle. But he was deliberating whether to kick for goal.

55 mins: England reach halfway but a poor Tomkins kick that advances the ball about 20m on the floor puts Australia back in the ascendancy and their kick-through and chase sees Tomkins swamped inside his own in-goal area. Australia turning the screw.

51 mins: Not many teams would have been able to stop Australia scoring that try. England look to respond, but a poor O'Loughlin kick goes straight into touch on the last tackle.

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From Michael in London, via text on 81111: "That was so forward. Why can't we have neutral refs? Wish my Aussie girlfriend would stop going on how good they are."

All that good work is undone by a truly wonderful Australian try by Tuqiri. The wingman has the simplest of tasks to touch down in the corner after excellent handling from Cooper Cronk, among others. Luke Lewis looks set to go over for his hat-trick but he loops a short pass to Tuqiri. Smith converts from the touchline. Australia 32-14 England.


45 mins: From the restart, England offload the ball in tackles and race up to the halfway line before Atkins is tackled into touch. Enterprising stuff and just what is required.

That is just the start to the second-half England needed. Following the penalty kick into touch, Luke Robinson skips through the heart of the Aussie defence to score a great solo try under the posts and Cudjoe kicks a simple conversion. Australia 26-14 England.

43 mins: ENGLAND TRY

42 mins: Tom Briscoe takes his first catch of the half cleanly and bounces off a couple of Aussie players to set up good field position and an offside call against the Kangaroos allows England to advance inside their 20m line.

0848: The teams are back out and England's Leroy Cudjoe gets the second half underway with a deep kick-off.

0845: Just seen pictures of the England dressing room - the players look a bit shell-shocked. Their hopes of reaching the Four Nations final are looking decidedly slim with 40 minutes to play. Will McNamara be able to lift his players and turn this round? Or is it more a case of damage limitation in the second half? You can get in touch to let me know your thoughts by texting me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
From Mark, via text on 81111: "The 1st Australia try looked a perfectly timed tackle, not early. The 2nd was knocked on in goal and the 3rd Tate's foot was against the line AND he dropped it. Apart from that the video ref has had a stormer."

0840: Who wants to be in the England dressing room right now? Yes it's absolutely chucking it down in Melbourne, but surely that's no excuse for the amount of handling errors they made in that first half. It was all looking so good after the opening 10 minutes but four Australian tries in 13 minutes leaves England with a mountain to climb.

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From Millsy, via text on 81111: "Same old England. Talk a good game but never deliver."

Half time

35 mins: Billy Slater breaks down the Aussie left and feeds Tuqiri but the England defence holds firm, stopping Tate on the try line. And they get the ball back when Lockyer's reverse pass goes forward. England coach Steve McNamara puts his head in his hands though as another dropped ball gives Australia the scrum deep in England's half.

Willie Tonga slides over for try number five. A poor Anthony Watmough pass, which hits the ground, leaves England flat-footed but Lewis picks up and unselfishly plays in Tonga who goes over unchallenged and this is turning into a rout. Smith kicks the conversion. Australia 26-8 England.


A fourth try for Australia after a fourth error from England. Atkins' fumble is picked up by Australia who swing the ball wide to Brent Tate and although Atkins almost makes amends by getting across to make the tackle, Tate manages to touch the ball down with his fingers. Smith misses the extras. It's all looking a bit ominous for England Australia 20-8 England.


25 mins: Stuart Fielden and Eorl Crabtree are on the field for England who are driving through the midfield. But all their efforts come to nothing as a Sean O'Loughlin kick is collected by Slater and the Aussies march downfield. A Lockyer kick leads to more mayhem in the England defence and Ryan Atkins inexplicably drops the ball leading to another chance for the Kangaroos.

Suddenly it's all Australia. And another Lockyer kick, this time a towering cross-field effort, sets up their third try. England's Tom Briscoe drops a fairly straightforward catch at the feet of Billy Slater who gleefully dives over. Smith misses the conversion but there's a bit of a gap opening up and more worrying for England, a couple of mistakes have been severely punished. Australia 16-8 England.


Luke Lewis, who followed up and touched the ball down, is given a benefit of the doubt try by the video referee as he collects his second of the match. It was a lovely kick from Lockyer that set up the chance. Cameron Smith kicks the conversion. Australia 12-8 England.


17 mins: The rain has begun to fall and we're off to the video referee again. Australia's Darren Lockyer tries a clever kick onto the England cross bar and although it misses, there is an almighty melee in the in-goal area as two Aussies and two Englishmen try to get their hands on the ball.

England and Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand is up early to watch the action down under before heading off to training, he tells his Twitter followers.

Westwood notches his second successful kick of the game from in front of the posts after Luke Robinson was floored by a high tackle. Australia 6-8 England.


12 mins: Australia's Lote Tuqiri breaks a few tackles but his movement is more lateral than anything and England take back possession. And the visitors look far from overawed by the ocassion - throwing the ball around nicely and advancing comfortably into the Australia half.

Wow - what a start to this game. Sam Burgess takes a pass from James Roby to burst through and under the posts from close-range. Ben Westwood adds a simple conversion to level the match. Australia 6-6 England.


Strange goings-on in Melbourne. Luke Lewis finally crosses down the left wing for Australia for the opening try of the game after Australia create a man over. It came after Australia were awarded a penalty by the video referee when it looked like England would be getting possession. The afters are converted and it's just the start England didn't want - Australia 6-0 England


3 mins: Australia win an early penalty and drive inside England's 10m zone before the grubber kick is taken over the dead-ball line by Tomkins for an England drop-out. Australia come straight back and winger Brett Morris skips down the line before electing to pass inside and England are penalised for tacking without the ball.

0747: And we're under way. England take first possession and some strong running from captain Graham gets England up to the 40m line but a poor Sam Tomkins kick gives Australia decent field position.

0742: James Graham leads the England players out - it's an overcast evening in Australia and there is the promise of rain. Will that help or hinder the Aussies? Time for a stirring anthem to lift spirits.

From Kev in Huddersfield, via text on 81111: "If we get a slow start again then this could be over by half time. Hopefully the new lads can be quick out of the blocks, Lunt has the talent at hooker."

0738: England coach Steve McNamara has delivered his final team talk and it's now down to the players. Here they go, studs clicking on the floor as they skip out into the Aami Stadium in Melbourne.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
From James in London, via text on 81111: "Slammin' Sam to lay the BOOM on Slammin' Sam in the first 10 mins...which one? We'll have to wait and see but here's to hoping!!!"

0735: If you want any more indicators as to just how tough this will be, England have lost their four games against the Kangaroos and playing as either England or Great Britain, have won just three of the last 18 games played between the sides in the last decade. You want a bit of positive news though? The last win against Australia came in 2006. That 23-12 victory came playing as GB. Still, England coach Steve McNamara is remaining positive: "Beating Australia has been done quite a few times in one-off matches so we know we've got the capability of doing that."

0732: We're getting close to kick-off so probably a good time to give you a nudge in the direction of BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra who have live commentary of the game. The link is on the top right of this page for those of you following this on the website in the UK.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
It's a bit early for 606 but I still want your thoughts on today's game and you can get in touch by texting me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)

0727: The England side is one of the youngest ever fielded with an average age of just 24 and only Stuart Fielden is the wrong side of 30. The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted three debutants in Huddersfield duo Shaun Lunt and Leroy Cudjoe while Warrington's Ben Harrison also comes in. Australia, perhaps ominously, are unchanged from the side that beat Papua New Guinea 42-0 in their opening game.

0722: We're only about 20 minutes away from kick-off so here are the teams:
England: S Tomkins (Wigan); D Goulding (Wigan), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), R Atkins (Warrington), T Briscoe (Hull); S O'Loughlin (Wigan), L Robinson(Huddersfield); J Graham (St Helens, capt), J Roby (St Helens), S Burgess (South Sydney), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), J Tomkins (Wigan), B Westwood (Warrington). Subs: S Lunt (Huddersfield), S Fielden (Wigan), E Crabtree (Huddersfield), B Harrison (Warrington).
Australia: B Slater (Melbourne); B Morris (St George Illawarra), B Tate (NZ Warriors), W Tonga (North Queensland), L Tuqiri (Wests Tigers); D Lockyer (Brisbane, capt), C Cronk (Melbourne); N Myles (Sydney Roosters), C Smith (Melbourne), P Civoniceva (Penrith), L Lewis (Penrith), S Thaiday (Brisbane), P Gallen (Cronulla). Subs: D Shillington (Canberra), T Learoyd-Lars (Canberra), A Watmough (Manly), K Gidley (Newcastle).

0720: Morning all. Sorry to begin on such a negative note, but it's important to realise the magnitude of the task facing England in their must-win Four Nations game against Australia following last week's 24-10 defeat by New Zealand in their opening game. A second defeat today will see England miss out on a place in the final.

0715: The last time England played Australia in Melbourne, they were thrashed 52-4.

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see also
Australia 34-14 England
31 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
N Zealand 76-12 Papua New Guinea
30 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Trio set to make England debuts
29 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
England await stern Melbourne examination
29 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Ellis ready for Australia battle
28 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
England lose injured star Shenton
27 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Time for an act of union?
24 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
New Zealand 24-10 England
23 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Australia 42-0 Papua New Guinea
24 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Morley ruled out of Four Nations
17 Oct 10 |  Rugby League

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