The Australian Kangaroos have booked their spot in the Four Nations final against New Zealand with a convincing 44-18 victory over Samoa at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Facing a big Samoan pack and withstanding plenty of big hits, the Kangaroos have shown their class to score 7 tries to 3. Australian star Greg Inglis scored a first-half double with playmaker Cooper Cronk also scoring two in the match.
Inglis has well and truly shaken the illness that hampered him early in the tournament to put on a defensive and attacking master-class in a man-of-the-match performance.
Cronk opened the scoring in the second minute and the ‘Roos never lost control from this point. On the back of several penalties at the ruck, the Australians were handed plenty of ball and field possession by a hard working Samoan pack.
Tim Samona showed some individual nous, running at the line and fending off the Australian captain to bring the gap back to within 4 points. With plenty of individual talent available, Samoa were backed to do well against the Australians and were looking aggressive in pursuit of an upset.
Greg Inglis held up reserve hooker Pita Godinet who looked certain to score and possibly put Samoa ahead. Inglis created a 12-point turnaround as he scored his first try moments later to bump the difference out to 10.
Daly Chery-Evans dummied and darted through the line, running 60 metres to score from the back of a scrum.
Rookie David Klemmer ran a good line 10-metres out and was met by a Cameron Smith bullet on the chest from dummy half to score his first ever try for the Kangaroos who were 28-6 up and pumping at the half-time break.
The Samoans needed to score first to rein in the Kangaroos and have any hope of chasing a victory by 9+ points to progress. When Ben Roberts threw a sharp left-footed step to sprawl over the line early, some hope was restored.
But the Australians controlled possession and gave little away in a disciplined and focused display of strategic, running footy.
Scoring his second try in the 62nd minute, Cooper Cronk looked to have sealed the victory for the Kangaroos. Not dropping their heads, Samoa answered right back through skipper David Fa’alogo.
A late pair from a new pair in Josh Papalii and Josh Mansour, put the Kangaroos stamp on the match, scoring the most points in a game since their victory over the Kiwis in the 2013 World Cup final.
The Kangaroos will go into the final at Wellington next week against the Kiwis confident of another victory in what promises to be a tough rematch. The Kiwis hold bragging rights after defeating Australia in the opening match of the tournament.