Sun, Nov 19, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Aussies extinguish British final hopes

ROARING START An inspired performance from skipper Darren Lockyer killed off Great Britain's chances of making the final as Australia ran in six tries to clinch the victory


Australia's Justin Hodges, second left, and Johnathan Thurston, left, celebrate a try during the Tri-Nation Series Rugby League match against Great Britain at Suncorp stadium in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday.


Australia scored six tries to kill off Great Britain's bid to reach the Tri-Nations final with a 33-10 rugby league Test win at Lang Park yesterday.

The Kangaroos began sensationally with two converted tries in the first nine minutes and were never in danger in a win that wiped out the memories of their 23-12 loss to the Lions a fortnight ago.

The Lions had to win or draw with the Kangaroos but although they played with spirit they couldn't bridge the gap established by Australia's roaring start.

Led by recalled scrum-half Johnathan Thurston and the scheming of skipper and stand-off Darren Lockyer, the Kangaroos looked hungry for redemption and controlled the game for large tracts.

The game was played before 44,358, the biggest crowd for a rugby league Test in Australia since 1974. The Australians will face a testing series decider against New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday.

Great Britain were playing their fourth game on consecutive weekends and the effort told as they could not push on after getting to 22-10 with 20 minutes left.

Drop goal

Lockyer made it a 13-point buffer with a drop goal and replacement forward Anthony Tupou scored his first Test try before winger Brent Tate finished off a great counter-attack after the full-time siren to score in the right corner.

The Kangaroos exploded out of the blocks and were two converted tries up inside the first nine minutes.

A kick along the ground from Lockyer was pounced on by center Justin Hodges to score in the fourth minute and Lockyer put the other center Mark Gasnier through a hole and over for another try five minutes later.

The Lions overcame the shock of Australia's opening onslaught and they scored a try through the video referee after 25 minutes.

Thurston dispossessed Lee Gilmore and the ball went forward for Danny McGuire to swoop on it and race away to score unopposed.

But the Australians had the last word in the opening half when Lockyer and interchange forward Mark O'Meley kept the ball alive on the last tackle for fullback Karmichael Hunt to crash through counterpart Paul Wellens' tackle to score his side's third try for a 18-4 halftime advantage.

The Lions began the second half disastrously, putting the kick-off out on the full and in the next set of tackles Lockyer ran around Keith Senior to score in the second minute of the half.

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