Australia 30-10 Samoa: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Once again Australia are World Champions as they defeated Samoa 30-10 in the Rugby League World Cup Final today at Old Trafford underlining their supremacy.

Highlights:

Australia sucker punch after early Samoa pressure
After Samoa heaped on the pressure early, it was Australia who scored first. After a brilliant break from a 20 metre restart, Australia forced a repeat set with a grubber kick. Then they got the first try of the game. After a brilliant tackle by Stephen Crichton, Samoa were caught out down the right with Latrell Mitchell given too much space and powering over in the corner.

Sensational Australia
Another try soon followed as Josh Addo-Carr showed great pace to take himself through the Samoan defence before finding skipper James Tedesco in support to score a superb try.

The Hand of God
The football World Cup begins this weekend which of course has a specific moment labelled the Hand of God. In today’s World Cup Final, we saw what may be referred to as the Hand of God by Addo-Carr. As Samoa sought to battle back, they looked set to cross for a try until Addo-Carr batted the ball down to stop a certain try. After seeing out that pressure Australia went up the field and Liam Martin, after a brilliant performance last week, crossed for a deserved try sneaking the ball down in the corner.

A hero’s welcome
At halftime there was perhaps the highlight of the day as Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield took to the field after running seven ultramarathons in seven days to raise money and awareness in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease in the name of Rob Burrow. He received an emotional reception from everyone in the stadium.

Crichton binned
The Rugby League World Cup started with a Mexican wave at St James’ Park when the PA system in the build up to the opener failed and fans took it upon themselves to create their own hype. So, it was only fitting that at the final there be another Mexican wave. This one went around and around as fans waited for the game to recommence after Angus Crichton copped Chanel Harris-Tavita with an elbow leaving the playmaker on the ground. The wave ended when Crichton was finally shown a yellow card.

World Championship winning defence
After that yellow card, Samoa heaped the pressure on Samoa and a try would have brought them back into the game but some heroic defence from the Kangaroos denied them underlining why they are the reigning world champions.

Cleary’s disguised pass
After that pressure, Cameron Munster came up with a brilliant one on one strip. In the subsequent set, Nathan Cleary’s lovely disguised pass saw Cameron Murray tear through for a second try in two games.

Game on?
Samoa gave themselves hope of a miracle when a cut out pass was tipped on into the hands of Brian To’o who darted over to make it 20-6 and give Samoa hope.

Tedesco seals it as spine combines
What a move this was. It showed the class of the Australia side as Ben Hunt, at nine, darted before turning Nathan Cleary back inside. He picked out Cameron Munster whose inside ball saw Tedesco carve through to score.

Consolation for Crichton
The intercept king as again on hand to produce another one tonight as he nicked a pass and ran 40 metres to score what was a consolation try. It was soon cancelled out by the man who started it all today, Latrell Mitchell who tore through again in the last play of the game scoring the first and last try of the game.

Talking Points:

Controversial early call
Samoa turned the screw at the start of the game and perhaps should have been gifted an early look at Australia’s try line when a brilliant kick looked to be heading for a 40/20. James Tedesco got to it but when it hit it back in field it seemed to touch the whitewash. Had Samoa scored first, perhaps it would have been a different game.

Clinical is the key word
For two weeks in a row we have seen teams start strong against Australia but an inability to take the opportunities which came as consequence saw Australia get the better of both. In the first 40, Australia and Samoa had the same number of opportunities, yet it was Australia who held a 14-0 lead at the break. Samoa have plenty of attacking weapons, but on the biggest stage it is a matter of inches and Australia excel in those extra inches. They find the extra 1%, they’re clinically perfect and for a team to dethrone them we need to see that perfection matched.

What next for international rugby?
The important thing now is to see this World Cup built upon. It has shown that there are five very good teams in international rugby league with Fiji and Papua New Guinea not far behind them. It is clear that teams like Samoa need more time to grow and become more of a team rather than some top class individuals brought together for a World Cup. Yearly test matches are a must for all five teams especially if we want to see teams match the quality of Australia. Hopefully plans are soon put in place to ensure this happens especially after it was a part of IMG’s recommendation.

Player Ratings:

Australia
1 James Tedesco – 9
4 Valentine Holmes – 7
10 Jack Wighton – 7
8 Latrell Mitchell – 8
9 Josh Addo-Carr – 9
7 Cameron Munster – 9
14 Nathan Cleary – 9
5 Jake Trbojevic – 7
3 Ben Hunt – 8
6 Reagan Campbell-Gillard – 7
21 Liam Martin – 9
17 Angus Crichton – 8
24 Isaah Yeo – 8
Substitutes
20 Harry Grant – 7
13 Patrick Carrigan – 7
11 Cameron Murray – 8
18 Tino Fa‘asuamaleaui – 7

Samoa
1 Joseph Suaal’I – 7
5 Brian To’o – 8
4 Stephen Crichton – 8
25 Tim Lafai – 6
2 Taylan May – 6
6 Jarome Luai – 7
7 Anthony Milford – 6
15 Royce Hunt – 6
20 Chanel Harris-Tavita – 6
10 Junior Paulo – 6
11 Ligi Sao – 6
12 Jaydn Su’a – 6
23 Oregon Kaufusi – 6
Substitutes
22 Kelma Tuilagi – 6
8 Josh Papali’i – 6
16 Spencer Leniu – 6
17 Martin Taupa’u – 7

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