In today’s opening game or the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, England suffered their 12th consecutive defeat at the hands of the defending World Cup champions Australia in Melbourne.
Despite the 18-4 score line, England were still within 6 points of the Champions with less than five minutes reminding having had a much improved 2nd half performance.
England’s hope took a dive shortly before kick off when Super Leagues top Meter Maker for the past two seasons Alex Walmsley was stood down after failing to recover from a virus in time to make what would have been his debut from the bench, this meant another debutant Ben Currie would take his place.
With the team dynamics changing pre game, England came out firing with England’s Jermaine McGillvary scoring the tournaments opening try after 4 minutes, which Gale failed to convert. With England taking the early lead, Australia came back hard, but the encouraging English defence kept them out!
Unfortunately, England’s poor kicking game and some poor handling ensured the Kangaroo’s spent time pounding the English line and eventually Matt Gillett found the space to dive over, which Kangaroo’s skipper Cameron Smith converted to give them a 6-4 lead. To make matters worse English super star Sam Burgess was escorted of the field with possible knee damage and moments later the Kangaroo’s again found themselves deep in the English half, when the Australian ref gave a controversial penalty that lead to Australian Full back Billy Slater marking his Australian comeback with a try that meant they went into the break 10-4 up.
The majority of second half was a different story, England decided to take the game to the Australians and would have taken the lead but for some poor handling in the build-up that fluffed a certain try.
With England applying the pressure it was pure Australian commitment in defence and poor handling the visitors that stopped England from equalizing on a number of occasions.
Both McGillvary and Hall did very well on the wingers with only stout Australian defence keeping them out, England did crate a few chance's only for poor handling to let them down
With 5 minutes remind it was still 10-6 to Australia, but a smith penalty took the difference to 8 a piece, Josh Dugan 80 yard break away, before Luke Gales cross field kick was snapped up my Josh Dugan to go 80 meter making the final score 18-4
England: Lomax; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall; Widdop, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, Whitehead, S. Burgess, O'Loughlin (capt).
Interchanges: Currie, Heighington, T. Burgess, Roby.
Australia: Slater; Gagai, Chambers, Dugan, Holmes; Morgan, Cronk; Woods, Smith (capt), Klemmer, Cordner, Gillett, Trbojevic.
Interchanges: Graham, McLean, McGuire, Frizell.