Australia’s PM’s XIII easily defeated PNG on Saturday evening in Port Moresby 58-0 as a tremendous warm up to the upcoming Four Nations tournament.
Talking of warm, as expected it was a very warm afternoon and evening in Papua New Guinea, and the match was played in quarters. Warm could also be described as the reception of the Australian side, who were mobbed earlier in the week and followed wherever they went in the lead up.
Both sides were not at full strength, but as one could imagine, the Australians had by far the strongest side on paper. The PM XIII had players from clubs not featuring in the last four action in the NRL this weekend. PNG too had omissions, with some of the NRL and Intrust Super Cup players not playing after being named in the initial 25 man squad.
The fringe Test players for Australia all did themselves no harm with tries a plenty spread between Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, and Aussie Semi Radradra and others. Greg Inglis continued his late season NRL form with a couple of tries himself. The subsequent Goanna for which Inglis has become famed for was a real crowd favourite, and got bigger cheers with every replay. According to the Fox Sports Live text coverage.
As welcome as the Fox Sports live updates were, what a missed opportunity and a real disappointment that it was not available to watch in any form.
It didn’t take long for Australia to get on the scoreboard, as they took full advantage of a PNG error to score through Josh Dugan after just 4 minutes. Blake Ferguson and Semi Radradra added four pointers to see Australia up at quarter time 16-0.
The second 20 minutes was a much tighter affair as the PNG side held on admirably, until the Australian captain Greg Inglis scored just before the main break. The score was 22-0 at half time.
Australia pushed the lead out to 32-0 by three quarter time as second tries to Josh Dugan and Greg Inglis to assert more authority over the PNG side.
The last installment of the contest saw a blow out to the Australians who scored another four unanswered tries including a second to Blake Ferguson, and a first in Australian colours to Tyson Frizzell and Mitchell Moses. The end score of 58-0 underlined the quality of the performance from the Australian team, which left Mal Meninga very happy heading into the Four Nations.
For PNG, the zero points will hurt, but the 11th ranked side in the world held their own against the Australians for large parts of the game. And ask Semi Radradra and James Tedesco about their defence, in which big hits had seen both players rested. With an injection of a little more quality from their NRL players, and another season of the PNG Hunters in the Intrust Super Cup, the Kumuls may well surprise a few at next year’s World Cup. Especially since they will have three home games.
Australia will and should be happy with the result and performance, as the road to regaining the number 1 status and continues.
Hopefully next year we can see some coverage of this match. Or in fact any game in PNG, after the Hunters have been snubbed in the Intrust Super Cup. With fans that are so passionate about rugby league it would be good to see a full game televised up there in the near future.