Luke Lewis scored the first try for the Kangaroo’s playing on the wing as Billy Slater broke his collarbone trying to stop the Poms from scoring early in the game.
ENGLAND coach Steve McNamara claimed Kangaroos impact weapon Tony Williams should have been sent off for a coat-hanger tackle on Ben Westwood after Australia beat England 36-20 at Wembley.
In a Test match dripping with sub-plots, Kangaroos fullback Billy Slater was ruled out for the rest of the Four Nations with a broken collarbone sustained in the 11th minute, Williams was placed on report, Choc Watmough was in a stink with Gareth Widdop and the Poms were screaming blue murder in the aftermath.
The Kangaroos might have booked a place in the Four Nations final at Elland Road in Leeds in a fortnight, but all the focus was on Slater, Williams and the English carry-on.
It wasn’t quite shades of Shaun Edwards on Bradley Clyde in 1994, but McNamara was fuming with the Williams shot on Westwood.
“That was a dead-set red card, there’s no two ways about it,” McNamara said. “We would never ever use the officials as the reason to as to why we never won that game this week.The England coach then opened fire on Kangaroos counterpart Tim Sheens, claiming the Australian camp attempted to politically influence the selection of referee Henry Perenara.
“But other influence at the start of the week by the Australian team, Tim Sheens and his staff, and the pressure that referee must have been put under out there, I think it’s wrong.
“It would have been a send off in the NRL. He hit him flush across the top of the head. We had Adrian Morley sent off a few years back 16 seconds in.
“Shaun Edwards quite a few years back was the same on this same ground. There’s quite a few examples of it.”
Kangaroos coach Sheens refused to return serve at McNamara, simply saying: “Steve said himself the players were the ones who decided the outcome of the Test match. I’ll leave my comment at that.”
In a spiteful Test played in from to 42,344 fans at the England’s spiritual sporting home, Slater was rushed to hospital for surgery after reeling out of an attempted tackle on runaway English winger Ryan Hall.
Billy The Kid was doing what he does, flying across in cover as the last line of defence to prevent a certain try, when the force of the collision busted his shoulder.
With the game only 11 minutes old, the injury forced a major re-shuffle, with Darius Boyd moving to fullback and backrower Luke Lewis pushing to the left wing. But the Kangaroos didn’t even skip a beat. Lewis bagged a try and deputised like a seasoned professional as Australia posted a convincing six-tries-to-four victory.
Next up, T-Rex. The 118kg x-factor once again turned wrecking ball for Australia, turning England lock Chris Heighington into a speed bump to score a memorable try.
But the concern for Kangaroos coach Sheens will be the swinging arm high shot he decked England backrower Ben Westwood with in the 47th minute.
Referee Henry Perenara put Williams on report for the incident and the Four Nations match review committee are guaranteed to examine it.
As if there wasn’t already enough going on, then English utility Gareth Widdop decided to put two punches on Choc Watmough’s button, threatening to spark an all-in brawl.
The Kangaroos lock showed surprising restraint to not retaliate and Australia were awarded the penalty.
But not before English backrower Westwood got square for the high shot Williams had collected him with six minutes earlier, with the no. 12 collecting Watmough with a sly right hand as he was felled.
Despite England winger Ryan Hall scoring the first try to send the home side to a 4-0 lead, the Kangaroos never really looked in danger.
Losing Slater so early could have seriously dented the Australian attack, but Boyd handled the key transition and the Kangaroos rolled on.
In total, the Kangaroos bagged six tries through Luke Lewis, Williams, Greg Inglis, Paul Gallen, Boyd and Chris Lawrence in a comfortable win.
For England, left winger Ryan Hall scored two good tries, while centre Jack Reed and Chris Heighington also crossed.
England right winger Tom Briscoe was denied what should have been a fair try when referee Henry Perenara ruled a double movement.
It might have been six seasons since Luke Lewis last played on the wing but the Panthers captain-in-waiting picked it up easy, scoring a brilliant try in the 19th minute to send Australia to the lead.
With nothing on, Johnathan Thurston shuffled the ball to Darius Boyd who found Greg Inglis before the South Sydney centre performed a split-second bat-on to Lewis.
The Kangaroos Mr-fix-it then stepped, bumped and powered his way over the line, beating three English defenders to level the scoreline at 4-all.
Thurston nailed the sideline conversion for a 6-4 ball game.
At their spiritual sporting home of Wembley Stadium, the English were lifting.
Fullback Sam Tomkins threatened repeatedly in broken play while halfback Rangi Chase had flashes of brilliance.
But Australia were in the zone. Coach Tim Sheens selected Tony Williams to provide some x-factor from the interchange and it paid dividends in the 32nd minute when the Manly backrower turned Chris Heighington into a speed bump.
With Australia on the attack with little happening, captain Darren Lockyer showed T-Rex the slightest bit of space before the 118kg wrecking ball bulldozed straight over Heighington from 10m out to score.
Halfback Thurston again nailed the conversion for a 12-4 scoreline.
England soon rallied. The home side scored a brilliant try on the stroke of halftime when right winger Hall bagged his second on the end of a 40m movement.
English fullback Tomkins was the instigator, slicing through a gap and sending Jack Reed into space before the Broncos centre put Hall into room with 20m to the try line.
The England winger pinned his ears back, avoided Darius Boyd’s cover tackle and scored his second try.
England five-eighth Kevin Sinfield hit the post with his conversion, leaving the scoreline at 12-8 at halftime.
The second half immediately heated up when Williams collared Westwood high before Widdop and Watmough came to blows in some classic Test match conditions.
Australia powered on with second half tries to Inglis, Gallen, Boyd and Lawrence in an impressive display.
The win guarantees the Kangaroos a place in the final at Elland Road in Leeds on November 19.
Who they play will be decided when New Zealand meet England in Hull next Sunday (AEDT).
KANGAROOS 36 (Lewis, Williams, Inglis, Boyd, Gallen, Lawrence; Thurston 6 goals from 6)ENGLAND 20 (Hall 2, Reed, Heighington; Sinfield 2 from 4) Crowd 42,344.