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Burgess Sidelined For 3-4 Weeks

Michael Chammas‌, Chief Reporter‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Burgess,S 17102733

This article first appeared on NRL.com.

Sam Burgess' Rugby League World Cup campaign was derailed after less than one half of football, suffering a strained medial ligament in his knee in a double blow to England's championship aspirations.

England coach Wayne Bennett expects Burgess to be sidelined for three to four weeks, which would give him time to return to the side for the tournament's semi-final or final. The Kangaroos meanwhile have their own injury concerns with lock Jake Trbojevic suffering a suspected ruptured pec, which could end the Manly star's tournament.

"I saw Jakey with ice on his pec. I'm not sure the boys knew the full extent of the injury but I heard he went to hospital which isn't a good sign," fellow Kangaroos forward Cordner said.

"We'll just have to wait and see what the scans show. Fingers crossed it's not too serious and he can play further in this World Cup. I tore my pec at the start of the 2016 season.

"Any injury is bad but any injury you need to have surgery on is definitely going to test you mentally. With a bloke like Jakey, he's shown he's a pretty strong kid. Fingers crossed it's just a strain and he's able to take part but if not if anyone could handle it, it will be him."

‌If ever England were to cause a boilover, Friday was the night to produce something special.

Australia had some rust, and plenty of it. This wasn't the clinical exhibition synonymous with the Kangaroos.

Granted, it was just the first of a six-week tournament, but Australia were put through a heavy run and not the stroll in the park the 18-4 scoreboard suggested it might have been.

England were in it, but lacked the polish and class to punish Australia for their rustiness.

"I think both teams have improvement in them," Australia coach Mal Meninga said.

"Through the course of the competition both teams will improve. But this was a really important victory for us tonight because it sets up our campaign and puts England under a bit of pressure.

"I thought it was a great way to open the World Cup having the two oldest foes going head to head. We can play better, yes. But I was really pleased with our attitude and certainly our effort around defence as well."

Bulldogs prop David Klemmer cemented himself as the leader of a pack missing Andrew Fifita (Tonga) and Matt Scott (injured), producing one of his best games for his country.

This was an Australian team without four walk-up starters. No Johnathan Thurston (however he was present to lead the Kangaroos through a historic pre-game tribute to the nation's Indigenous heritage). No Greg Inglis. No Darius Boyd. And no Scott.

Australia didn't do themselves any favours either, with the players you least expect making some uncharacteristically bad decisions.

Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater were guilty of pushing passes and coughing over possession in what was their final outing with Cameron Smith in their home city.

But credit where credit is due. Wayne Bennett did his homework on Australia and England's goal-line defence in the opening quarter of the game was first rate.

They repelled a barrage of attack from Australia, but when they were finally bent, they did so with little resistance.

Not once, but twice. The Englishmen let Australia off the hook such was the fatigue levels following an energy-sapping 20 minutes to start the game to surrender a 4-0 lead they built in the early minutes.

Matt Gillett and Slater crashed over through some feeble England defence, sending Mal Meninga's men into the break with a 10-4 advantage.

Slater invited England back into the contest when he dropped a bomb on his own try line, but a rush of blood from Josh Hodgson saw the hooker produce a poor kick that gifted Australia possession.

That was the opportunity England had been working towards for 65 minutes, only to blow it away without really asking too many questions of the Australian defensive line.

And then came the anti-climax. With England in pursuit of a converted try to pull back the six-point deficit, they gave away a penalty for a strip with six minutes remaining, allowing Smith to sink the match-winning penalty before Josh Dugan's long-range effort stretched the final margin to 14.‌‌

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