At last, here it is. The teams:
Australia: Billy Slater; Joel Monaghan, Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Brent Tate; Darren Lockyer (c), Scott Prince; Petero Civoniceva, Cameron Smith, Steve Price; Glenn Stewart, Anthony Laffranchi; Paul Gallen.
Interchange: Brent Kite, Josh Perry, Anthony Tupou, Karmichael Hunt.
England: Paul Wellens; Ade Gardner, Martin Gleeson, Keith Senior, Mark Calderwood; Leon Pryce, Rob Burrow; Adrian Morley, James Roby, James Graham; Jamie Peacock, Gareth Ellis; Kevin Sinfield.
Interchange: Danny McGuire, Gareth Hock, Maurie Fa’asavalu, J Wilkin.
Some changes to note: Johnathan Thurston has been replaced by Scott Prince, no doubt to give Thurston time to pay respects to his dead uncle (EDIT: apparently it’s for a shoulder injury). For England, Adrian Morley has been promoted to the starting line-up, with Jamie Peacock dropping back to the second row and Gareth Hock to the bench.
AUSTRALIA 40 – 4 ENGLAND
0 mins: Australia kick off. England get physical and hit up well. Leon Pryce kicks it straight to Billy Slater
1 mins: Australia get a penalty for lying on.
2 mins: Australia don’t get far hammering away at the English line, but on the last tackle Mark Calderwood nearly drops the ball straight to an Australian but Wellens gets there first and Australia will get the ball back
3 mins: TRY Billy Slater CONVERSION Scott Prince
Oh good. Australia hammer away at the line again, again not quite looking like they will break through. Instead Lockyer puts on a grubber and Slater runs onto it. Prince adds the easy kick.
7 mins: England make metres with the few tackles buw don’t look threatening at all. They give away a silly penalty when th chasers from Kevin Sinfield’s high bomb are offside.
9 mins: TRY Greg Inglis CONVERSION Prince
Two silly penalties, Two tries. Petro Civoniceva looks like he knocks on, but the referees miss it. Instead the ball goes wide and Inglis runs through some weak tackles from Pryce and Wellens. This doesn’t bode well.
AUS 12 – 0 ENG
12 mins: England try a powerplay from just inside the Australia half, which seems rather endemic of a lack of direction.
14 mins: England actually have field position and keep trying to break the Aussie line. Problem is they keep trying the same show and go move, and Wellens knocks on.
16 mins TRY Jame Roby
At last. Englanad get a penalty, and a quick play-the-ball near the Australian line means that Roby is able to bundle over despite the attention of four Kangaroos defenders. We require the video ref to confirm it, but everything seems okay.
AUS 12 – 4 ENG
21 mins: Now Australia seem rattled. Inglis falls off a tackle on Wellens, and Burrow puts in a nice kick. Slater loses the ball in the tackle, but luckily for him it goes back into Aussie hands.
23 Mins: Burrow makes a clean break. Brent Tate tackles him but holds him down too long
25 mins: England don’t utilise the ball well, and Australia get it back when Folau covers a Sinfield grubber. It’s dropped straight back to England, but Gareth Ellis knocks on trying a silly offload.
34 mins: TRY Greg Inglis
A knock-on by Fa’asavalu is punished as Australia spread the ball wide and find that there is just engouh space for Greg Inglis to put the ball down. Yet again, a silly mistake leads to an Australia try.
AUS 16 – 4 ENG
36 mins: TRY Anthony Laffranchi CONVERSION Prince
Well, I don’t know what happened there. A Lockyer kick is allowed to roll dead by Wellens, only for the ref to declare that it’s a drop out. Wellens looks furious, and from the drop out Australia work out on opportuinity for Laffranchi to run at a stationary English defence. It’s easy pickings for him, and Australia.
AUS 22 – 4 ENG
40 mins: McGuire tries a chip after the buzzer, and it’s taken by Australia. They spread it wide and Folau puts in a grubber. Graham picks it up and thumps it dead, clearly wanting to take up to half time.
HALF TIME: Australia 22 – 4 England
Well, from an english perspective that was fairly depressing. There were bright spots and England did have a ten minute spell of domination but failed to utilise it and didn’t look threatening enough. What was most depressing about that was Australia scored from a) stupid England mistakes and b) pretty much their only chances of the half.
40 mins: England start with a short kick-off. Huh.
41 mins: Australia get a penalty and start attacking the England line. Anthony Tupou throws a silly offload which WIlkin catches… and then drops. Australia have a scrum 10m out.
42 mins: Australia force a drop-out. Prince puts on a nice chip which Slater knocks on trying to catch.
46 mins: Slater knocks on a Sinfield bomb, but England completely waste the ensuing set with a particularly inept brand of desperation passing with precisely zero attack threat.
47 mins: A nice offload frees Slater, who rounds Wellens only to be tracked back by Calderwood. A nice Lockyer bomb is very well diffused by Gardner.
51 mins: PENALTY Prince
Interesting. McGuire takes the legs through horizontal in a tackle, and Australia surprise everyone by electing to kick.
AUS 24 – 4 ENG
55 mins: TRY Joel Monaghan
Australia have all the possession, and after Laffranchi gets held up over the line Australia spread the ball to teh other flank and again there’s just enough space for Joel Monaghan to slide over.
AUS 28 – 4 ENG
60 mins: England get a penalty, and try to attack once more. Keith Senior makes a mowerful surge, but knocks on whilst under the attentions of the defenders.
62 mins: TRY Billy Slater CONVERSION Prince
Well, that sums it up really. McGuire puts in a grubber kick close to the Australia line, which is picked up by Australia, and a single short pass frees Billy Slater to run the length of the pitch. Mark Calderwood does his best covering from the other flank, but Slater manages to outmanouvre him and reach the corner.
AUS 34 – 4 ENG
65 mins:TRY Inglis CONVERSION Prince
I’m sorry, that sums it up really. England try a short kick-off and Keith Senior manages to tap it back… to Greg Inglis who sprints 60m untouched. That was just really, really stupid.
AUS 40 – 4 ENG
70 mins: TRY Slater CONVERSION
England give away a silly penalty, and Slater takes advantage of no defensive push up whatsoever to crash over. Prince again knocks over the conversion
AUS 46 – 4 ENG
75 mins TRY Laffranchi CONVERSION Prince
Prince put on a grubber, and Laffranchi is the only one there to touch down.
AUS 52 – 4 ENG
This is now England’s biggest defeat in the World Cup, and it finishes that way.
FINAL SCORE: Australia 52 – 4 England
Well, the problems all started there in the first half. By allowing Australia to build up a head of steam, England simply ran out of energy in the second half and completely capitulated. Ruthless performance form the Kangaroos and it will take some effort to stop them.