Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis was a worthy Man of the Match in Wollongong today, helping Australia to book a place in Saturday’s Four Nations Final against New Zealand, with his try-scoring double against Samoa in Wollongong today by 44-18 (Sunday).
The representative star proved a vital cog for the Aussies at the back, not only grabbing his 26th and 27th Test tries, but also having a hand in Australia’s first of the afternoon with a brilliant flick-pass – the Aussies romping home by eight tries to three.
The Kangaroos drew first blood when Inglis offloaded on the half-way line, before sending away the Australian outside backs – eventually resulting a try to Cooper Cronk. Cronk failed to add the extras five in from touch to leave it at four nil.
Inglis grabbed his first try not long afterwards on the back of a desperate final tackle attempt by the Aussies to keep the ball alive – the Rabbitohs fullback finishing off after a string of offloads to bring up his 26th Test try. Cameron Smith converted to make it 10-0 in Australia’s favour.
While Australia looked in control in the first 20 minutes, a jink and change in direction from Samoa’s Kyle Stanley before passing back on the inside to Tim Simona allowed the fullback to palm Cameron Smith and dive over for a try. Tim Lafai converted from close range to narrow the gap to 10-6.
Samoa continued to apply pressure and nearly came up with a second try through Pita Godinet just two minutes after their first – Inglis pulling off some brilliant goal-line defence on Godinet to diffuse the situation.
Inglis was in everything, and after Australia survived repeat sets on their own line, the big man grabbed a second four-pointer when he strode through the narrowest of gaps to bring himself just one try away from Reg Gasnier in the all-time Test tries list. Smith converted to make it 16-6.
Things looked to be going in Australia’s favour when Daly Cherry-Evans dummied and raced through the Samoan defence before streaking 70 metres to score just four minutes after Inglis’ try. Smith kicked the conversion beautifully from the side-line to make it 22-6.
Australia began to tighten their grip when David Klemmer ran a strong line to score directly under the sticks – the Bulldogs product celebrating his first Test try with pride by kissing the Kangaroos badge. Smith made no mistake from in front to make it 28-6 going into the sheds.
Just after the break, Ben Roberts got Samoa a much-needed four-pointer when he danced through the Aussie defence before eventually crashing over. Tim Lafai added the extras to narrow the score to 28-12.
It took until the 62nd minute for the Australians to get back on the board, and it would come in the form of halfback Cronk grabbing his second of the afternoon. Smith failed to add the extras to leave the score at 32-12.
Samoa weren’t dead though, with skipper David Fa’alogo racing over to narrow the gap before Tim Lafai added the extras to make it 32-18
With clock winding down, Josh Papalii grabbed himself a four-pointer by reaching out to plant the ball down. Cherry Evans kicked the conversion before Josh Mansour added his name to the score-card to round out the match 44-18.
Australia 44 (Cooper Cronk 2, Greg Inglis 2, Daly Cherry-Evans, David Klemmer, Josh Papalii, Josh Mansour, tries; Cameron Smith 4, Daly Cherry-Evans 2, goals)
Samoa 18 (Tim Simona, Ben Roberts, David Fa’alogo, tries; Tim Lafai 3 goals)