Many had been tipping England to lose to Samoa in the opening game of the World Cup.
Despite having home advantage with over 40,000 fans cheering them on, England were branded as the underdogs against a Samoa side boosted by NRL Grand Final winners.
However, England produced a 10-try demolition of the Samoans with Dom Young, Jack Welsby and George Williams the stars of the show whilst Victor Radley was the glue that held everything together for England.
But what did those down under have to say about the defeat?
They were mostly the ones, alongside plenty in the UK to be fair, who built up the mystique around the Samoans given the notable names in their squad.
Did they give credit to England, or point to Samoa being undercooked?
Zerotackle described the game as a ‘hammering’ as they noted the struggles of Samoa’s attack: England have hammered Samoa in the opening match of the Rugby League World Cup, running on a half-century of points. Samoa struggled with their attack in the face of England.
Fox League meanwhile described England as a “terrifying prospect” before noting: It was quite the statement by the tournament hosts, for whom loose forward Victor Radley was outstanding.
The Daily Telegraph produced a very fair summation of events. They noted that now Samoa are headed for a battle against Tonga in the quarter-finals leaving their hopes dangling by a thread whilst they also tipped England to be in contention for the trophy: Samoa are on a quarter-final collision course with Pacific rivals Tonga after a weak display in their World Cup opener against rampant hosts England.
Samoa’s Rugby League World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread after a disastrous 60-6 thumping at the hands of England heaped pressure on coach Matt Parish and his side full of bona fide NRL stars.
The World Cup is one day old but judging by events in Newcastle on Sunday, England are well and truly in the mix and Samoa are a rabble.
As for the Sydney Morning Herald, they saw it as Samoa faltering in their biggest game: The biggest game in Samoan rugby league’s history turned into a real-life horror show for the island nation, as England ran riot with Victor Radley playing a pivotal role in the 10-try annihilation.
Meanwhile, the Canberra Times said the Samoans “barely fired a shot” at their opponents: Heavily-touted to upset hosts England in Newcastle on Saturday the Samoans barely fired a shot as they went on to lose 60-6.
Lastly, the Newcastle Herald called the game an “embarrassment” for Samoa: The match had been billed as a too-close-to-call affair but ended up being a major embarrassment for some of Samoa’s NRL stars.
Meanwhile, on social media Phil Gould had to concede he was wrong about the game having said “England can’t beat Samoa” last week but did seem to place emphasis on Samoa being a let down:
England too good. That’s a big win for the home side 👏👏👏Great start to the RLWC for the fans. Fast, skilful, committed. It obviously meant so much more to them. Taking nothing away from England, but Samoa were a rabble. Never in the contest. Dismal display. Well done England.
— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) October 15, 2022