Greg Inglis has scored a try in Australia’s 36 points to 18 victory over England in front of 35,569 fans at London’s Olympic Stadium.
Inglis had a barnstorming game, as did his Rabbitohs team mate and England captain Sam Burgess, in a game that would decide the Four Nations Final participants.
Both teams threw plenty at each other in the opening exchanges, with Sam Burgess and Aaron Woods going at each other from the outset, trying to establish forward dominance.
England would post first points via a Gareth Widdop penalty goal in the 12th minute after Woods gave away a penalty late in the tackle count.
Australia responded in the 17th minute when Johnathan Thurston knocked over a penalty goal from 11 metres out following an illegal hit on Cooper Cronk whilst kicking.
England were the first to cross the stripe in the 26th minute when winger Jermaine McGillvary crossed in the right hand corner, after the English defence had kept the Australians at bay on numerous occasions in the first quarter of the match.
It took Australia another ten minutes to return serve, with Blake Ferguson scoring a try of his own in the right corner. A brilliant conversion from Thurston from the touch line gave the Australians the lead for the first time in the match, eight points to six.
The Australians had an opportunity to extend the lead when the English were penalised on the half time siren, an opportunity which Thurston would take, sending the Kangaroos to the break with a 10-6 lead.
Both sides were strong in defence and had their fair share of attacking opportunities, but the kicking game of the Australians had them on top after 40 minutes.
It would be the Rabbitohs captain, Greg Inglis, who would power over for the first points of the second half when he got outside of Gareth Widdop metres from the line to score his 31st try for Australia. Thurston converted from the touch line again to establish a ten-point lead for Australia.
Inglis was causing the English all sorts of problems, and another big charge at the line set up the next scoring play for Australia. Inglis drew four defenders and his quick play-the-ball gave the Australians space to get Matt Scott over the line. Thurston converted from in front to give the Aussies a 22-6 lead after 58 minutes.
One minute later the Australians sealed the win with Cooper Cronk putting Josh Dugan away down the right hand side. Thurston converted to establish a 22 point lead for the Kangaroos.
The English struck back in the 66th minute when Gareth Widdop slid through to score on the right. He converted his own try taking the score line to Australia 28, England 12.
Australia extended their lead when Matt Gillett reached out in traffic to score in the 72nd minute. Following the try, a push to the face of Sam Burgess from David Klemmer led to Burgess putting a punch on Klemmer’s forehead, opening up the Kangaroos forward. The ‘no punch’ edict does not exist in the Four Nations tournament and Burgess remained on the field.
The frustration was starting to show amongst the Englishmen and they turned that frustration into some bruising defence, despite the game turning spiteful in the closing minutes.
With the Aussies more interested in baiting their English rivals, England would take advantage through a try to Ryan Hall in the left corner. Widdop converted to reduce Australia’s lead to 14 points.
The Australians were not finished yet after refocussing their efforts, with Tyson Frizell providing a special off load in the lead up to a Valentine Holmes try in the left corner in the 78th minute, taking the score line to 36-18 in favour of the visitors.
The score line would remain that way for the final couple of minutes, and the Australians would book a spot in the Four Nations Final against New Zealand with the win over England.
Greg Inglis was a wrecking machine against the English, scoring a try, running for 142 metres and constantly punching holes in the English defence. He was equally strong in defence, dishing out some heavy tackles and always being in the right place at the right time to prevent points.
Sam Burgess was inspirational for his English side, making a game high 48 tackles, running for 116 metres and never taking a backward step against the fancied Australian forward pack. He led the English with pride in his first tournament as captain.
The Burgess twins, Thomas and George, were also dangerous with limited minutes on the field, with Thomas running for 124 metres in 41 minutes and George making 20 tackles in just 19 minutes of game time.
Australia will take on New Zealand next Monday morning at 1am AEDST.
Australia 36 (Blake Ferguson, Greg Inglis, Matt Scott, Josh Dugan, Matt Gillett, Valentine Holmes tries; Johnathan Thurston 6 goals)
England 18 (Jermaine McGillvary, Gareth Widdop, Ryan Hall tries; Gareth Widdop 3 goals)