Australia 62 (B Morris 4, J Hayne 4, G Inglis 2, C Smith, C Cronk tries; J Thurston 7 goals)
United States 0
Australia made light work of rugby league minnows United States in their sixty-two point quarter-final victory in Wrexham.
A victory that might end up being costly with Billy Slater aggravating a troublesome knee after falling awkwardly in a tackle early in the second half.
The Kangaroos led with thirty-eight unanswered points at the half time break. It was an eight try blitz led by Brett Morris who completed a hat-trick after thirty-four minutes, and had his fourth after grabbing a Cooper Cronk cross field kick close to the break. Jarryd Hayne ended up with four tries too, the last from a great flick ball by Corey Parker in the final stages of the match. In good news for the Aussies Greg Inglis was bully-like against the hapless Tomahawks and Andrew Fifita continued his devastating form with a strong performance off the bench.
The United States had their moments during the game, in particular during the early stages. Bureta Faraimo put a sensational hit on a flying Billy Slater that was well received by the small Welsh crowd. Their best chance in attack came off the back of a Brett Morris mistake on his own line. It would come to nothing with play breaking down at the final tackle. Reserve dummy half Tui Samoa looked lively and went very close early in the second half. Despite being totally outplayed, the United States never threw in the towel and tried hard all game.
Player of the Match
Brett Morris’ first half four try effort was a combination of poor defence especially from ex-NRL player Matt Petersen and pure speed. But his ball inside for Jarryd Hayne’s second try was superb. Jarryd Hayne also had a superb game setting up a couple of tries and scoring four himself. Brent Tate may miss selection again for next week’s semi-final at Wembley.
Australia now face the winner of Sunday’s match between Fiji and Samoa. Despite the win, Tim Sheen’s won’t be happy with the opening fifteen minutes where mistakes from Brett Morris and an inside play from Cronk to Slater broke down. Cronk’s overall game was below par and on this performance I wonder if Sheens will opt for Daly Cherry-Evans for the semi-finals. Probably not. Johnathan Thurston’s kicking is concerning too. By half time he’d only converted three of eight chances. He will need to be more accurate in the closer games if Australia are to take out the competition. USA Tomahawks coach Terry Matherson will be proud of his side making it to the final eight even though they copped a belting at the expense of a top three rugby league nation. The key will be to continue to develop the game in the United States and hope that Joseph Paulo can make himself available for the next World Cup if the Tomahawks qualify.