England Rugby League coach Wayne Bennett described his sides performance as watching ‘the Good, the bad and the ugly’ as he saw his team beat Papua New Guinea 36-6 to set up a World Cup Semi-final game with Tonga next weekend.
Despite having a completion rate of around 55% and making more than 20 handling errors throughout the game, England had enough quality to ensure they made the Semis for the third finals running thanks to a healthy 14 -0 half time lead thanks to a Jermaine McGillvary double, both coming off the back off some excellent line running in the middle of the field and some excellent centre play from Kallum Watkins including a fantastic pass for his second try. England’s other first half try came from the pure power of man mountain Alex Walmsley to crashed over for his 1st ever test try shortly before the break.
In the second half England continued to produce the sloppy errors which allowed PNG to cross the try line in the form of Castleford Tigers bound winger Garry Lo, while they also had another effort ruled out by the video ref.
However, the ability of this England team was never in doubt and they showed what they can do when substitute Ben Currie was on hand to collect Gareth Widdop’s grubber kick England never looked back. As the clock ticked away, McGillvary returned the favour from the 1st half with two outstanding Try assit’s for Kallum Watkins. The first was through pure strength as the Huddersfield Giants winger bounced of defenders before finding his centre in support with a clear run to the line, before he showed the skill and awareness to collect the high ball and off load in mid-air to Watkins, for the Leeds Rhino’s man to dive in at the corner.
With all the action coming down the right side, England’s final try was scored down the left with Widdop again involved, getting on the outside shoulder of the PNG defender to send Ryan Hall flying over in the corner. Widdop was able to add the conversion to the three others he scored throughout the game as he showed just what he could offer from the full back position.
England: Widdop; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall; Brown, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, S Burgess, Whitehead, O'Loughlin (capt). Interchange: Walmsley, T Burgess, Currie, Roby.
Papua New Guinea: Mead (capt); Olam, Ottio, Macdonald, Lo; A Boas, W Boas; Meninga, Segeyaro, Page, Martin, Minoga, Aiton. Interchange: Baptiste, Amean, Albert, Griffin.