Aussies grind to World Cup victory

The Australian team celebrate their World Cup victory. Photo: Reuters
The Australian team celebrate their World Cup victory. Photo: Reuters
Reigning champions Australia have secured a grinding 6-0 Rugby League World Cup win over England in Brisbane.

The Kangaroos retained the title they won in beating New Zealand at the 2013 tournament, with back-rower Boyd Cordner scoring the only try of the match 15 minutes into the first half in front of 40,033 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

The victory caps an incredible campaign for the unbeaten Australian's who amassed 212 points and conceded just 16 in six matches, with the result saw Kangaroos mentor Mal Meninga become the first Australian to taste World Cup success as both a player and coach.

"It was like an old-fashioned test match. It reminds me of the old days," Meninga said.

"Without a really good attitude and understanding of what the occasion is, we wouldn't have delivered that result.

"When you look at the nil scoreline, I'm really proud of the way they defended again to keep on coming up with special efforts, particularly in that second half."

The win also caps a phenomenal year for Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith, who on Wednesday was awarded the Golden Boot as the best international player of the year, after leading Melbourne to a premiership and Queensland to another State of Origin series triumph, while he also claimed the Dally medal and broke Darren Lockyer's record as the most-capped player in NRL history.

"It was like the old games where you had to fight for every metre. They are the games you want to be a part of," Smith said.

"When Mal took over, we spoke about where we wanted to take this team. The last time we won a World Cup on home soil was 40 years ago, so we've made history. It's pretty special."

The first-half was an arm-wrestle that saw both teams miss scoring chances with England particularly guilty of poor execution and errors ruining their opportunities close to the line.

But even without injured captain and back-rower Sean O'Loughlin and hooker Josh Hodgson, the visitors gave nothing away in the forward battle, with stand-in skipper Sam Burgess leading the charge in attack and crunching Kangaroos front-rowers David Klemmer and Aaron Woods in defence.

The Kangaroos eventually broke the deadlock with Cordner running his trademark outside-in line to take a Michael Morgan pass and barge his way over to score.

Australia were denied a try to Morgan seven minutes after the resumption when the video referee confirmed obstruction in the lead-up when interchange forward Jordan McLean ran behind Smith.

England were unable to finish their chances with several more goal-line raids coming up empty, while desperate Kangaroos defence halted long-range breaks from right wing Jermaine McGillvary and his centre partner Kallum Watkins.

Australia's rampant attack had blown teams off the park in the pool and knock-out stages, but they proved their worth as World leaders with a first-class defensive effort ensuring the visitors were kept scoreless.

 

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