Australia have beaten a gutsy England 6-0 in a very physical and entertaining World Cup Final at Suncorp Stadium.
It was Test match football at its best. Both teams were like heavyweight boxers trading punches, but were unable to land the knockout blow.
The first tackle of the match set the tone of things to come, with James Graham emerging very groggy from a head clash with Matt Gillett. Both sides continued to trade heavy hits throughout the match.
It was an arm wrestle for field position for most of the game, but the Australians took advantage of more possession to score the only try in the first half.
Man-of-the-match Boyd Cordner ran strongly into a hole and then used his strength to barge his way through the last line of defence.
Michael Morgan was disallowed a try in the second half for Australia after a video review revealed some obstruction in the lead-up.
Australia generally looked to be the more dangerous of the two teams in attack, but England had their moments. The closest they came was a break by centre Kallum Watkins in the second half, but he was brought down in a desperate Josh Dugan ankle tap.
The scrambling defence of both teams out wide was as impressive as the intensity up the middle.
Australia’s defence throughout this World Cup has been very hard to break, and it was no different tonight. They have conceded just three tries in six games.
If this match is the last time that Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater pull on the green and gold jersey for Australia together, a World Cup victory is a fitting finale.
England certainly would have lost no fans though with their performance. Their completion rate was lower than Australia’s, but you couldn’t fault their effort or commitment.
The match was a great way to finish a World Cup that has seen improved performances from several Tier 2 nations.