As expected, Papua New Guinea have set-up a World Cup quarter-final against England in Melbourne after destroying Brian McDermott’s USA 64-0 in Port Moresby.
It’s the Kumuls third successive World Cup win on home soil and right from the get-go they showed why many are tipping them to upset Wayne Bennett’s team next week.
PNG were scintillating in the first quarter, averaging more than a point a minute, with Lachlan Lam, the son of Adrian Lam, opening the scoring after a break from James Segeyaro.
In what was wave after wave of attack in the opening stages, the hosts added further tries from Justin Olam, Segeyaro and Lam to race into a 22-0 lead after only 18 minutes.
Thankfully, the game was more closely contested after this but further tries from Rod Griffin, Stargroth Amean and five first-half conversions from Rhyse Martin saw PNG lead 34-0 at the break.
It looked as though the second half would continue in the same fashion when David Mead’s long distance try took the lead out to 40, but the United States were able to stand firm for a short period.
Despite this, the Kumuls were able to go over again through Watson Boas on the hour and this opened up the floodgates again, with Nene McDonald and Olam crossing in quick succession.
With the score now out to 58-0, the USA would have got on the board through Corey Makelim late on but for some incredible defence from Mead.
From the next play an error allowed Olam to pick up and race 90 metres to complete his hat-trick, with Martin’s tenth conversion of the afternoon making the final score 64-0.
PNG: Mead, Olam, Ottio, McDonald, Lo, Lam, Boas, Meninga, Segeyaro, Page, Martin, Minoga, Aiton. Interchange: Baptiste, Amean, Put, Teteh.
USA: Makelim, Burroughs, Vaivai, Alley, Faraimo, Freed, Samoa, Pettybourne, Marando, Offerdahl, Howard, Eichner, Newlin. Interchange: Tochtermann-Talbott, Malu, Johnston, Farley.
Photo credit: Asia Pacific RL