Australia And Papua New Guinea Seal Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final Spots
Australia and Papua New Guinea have recorded their third straight wins at the World Cup, dominating Lebanon and the United States.
The Kangaroos will now face Samoa in the quarter-finals in Sydney after battering the Cedars 34-0 in Sydney to top Group A. The Kumuls will meet England in Melbourne in the knockout stage after annihilating the Hawks 64-0 to finish first in Group C. Lebanon are through and will play Tonga in the Christchurch quarter-final, while the US have been eliminated with their third defeat in a row.
Australia went up 10-0 at half-time after tries to Cameron Munster and James Maloney. The green and gold blew a gutsy Lebanon away in the second half, with four-pointers to Munster, Boyd Cordner, Dane Gagai and Tom Trbojevic. Despite the scoreline and not conceding a try, it was a far from faultless performance. But the biggest concern for Mal Meninga is that his two front-rowers, New South Welshmen Aaron Woods and David Klemmer, were put on report.
Australia made 22 errors and referee James Child blew 21 penalties in a stop-star game. Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga was not happy.
"It was a frustrating game…it was very slow," he said.
"It was probably one of the slowest games that I've seen for a while. There were 21 penalties and there were a lot of stoppages. We want to see a good game of rugby league, don't we, so we want to be allowed to play a bit more. We had three penalties in the first game against England and not many penalties against France last week, and all of a sudden both teams were penalised for a lot of things that other teams have been getting away with.
"It's our showpiece so we should be allowed to play footy. It was just a bit frustrating tonight because there were a lot of things in the play the ball area and a lot of stoppages around injuries that normally you wouldn't see in our game so I'm a bit disappointed in that. We're trying to play attractive footy and showcase the skills of the players, and I thought that wasn't allowed tonight."In Port Moresby PNG raced out to a 34-0 lead at half-time against the Americans. They added 30 more points in a huge second half spell laden with tries. It was the Kumuls biggest-ever World Cup win and a record Test victory. The result came at a cost though with blockbusting winger Garry Lo picking up a calf injury.
Captain David Mead record his fourth try of third World Cup, to become PNG’s greatest World Cup try-scorer, and Rhyse Martin nailed 10 goal from 11 points to finish with an 18-point haul. Young Lachlan Lam, the son of ex-Kumuls skipper Adrian Lam, grabbed a brace in a memorable debut.
Former Australian international Laurie Daley believes Papua New Guinea can beat England in the quarter-finals.
“They're a fighter's chance," Daley said in commentary for Channel Seven.
"They can score points and from what we've seen so far England don't score a lot of points."