Australia Destroy England In The 2009 Four Nations Final

Feels good man, feel’s real good.

Australia has blown England off the park in the Four Nations Final in Leeds by a scoreline of 46-16.

The fight half was a beauty, with both teams swapping the lead for the entire 40 minutes.

Australia were under pressure early, giving away stupid penalties, and had to hold off the England attack very early in the game. They looked to have hit back though with a Try to winger Brett Morris.

To me it looked like a pretty simple call, Morris scored, but we went up to the English video referee and after about 30 different looks he put up the no try sign. A disgrace!

To make matters worse, England hit straight back after an amazing run by Sam Burgess. He wrong footed Petero Civoniceva, broke straight through up the middle of the field, and sold Billy Slater a dummy to go in under the posts.

England worked their way back onto the Australian try line soon after with Sam Burgess once again making the hard yards. However in spinning the ball wide the English side allowed a Jonathan Thurston intercept. While the Sky Commentators were whinging about what supposedly should have been a 12-0 English lead, Australia was in the up the other end of the field scoring actual points, as quick hands and a great bat on pass from Justin Hodges saw Brett Morris score an undeniable try. That made it 6 all.

That lead didn’t last long though as England once again found itself on the Australian try line. A nice pin point kick to the sideline was just over Jarryd Haynes head and saw English winger Peter Fox score a good try. Fox then got up and had a fair celebration for a kid playing against Australia in the 19th minute of the game. I’m sure he feels really good about that about now…

Australia hit back with a quick reply with great work by Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston putting Jarryd Hayne into space. Hayne had Slater flying up on his inside but chose to kick the ball to the corner for Greg Inglis. Its hard to be critical of him, you’d be looking for Inglis too if you were in space. Inglis scored and slide hard into the advertising signs but it took over 2 minutes and dozens of views of the try before the English video referee could make a decision!

Australia added a penalty goal soon after and took a 14-10 lead into half time. English had started to look tired at the end of the first half and they really needed the rest.

In the start of the second half Australia looked sharper, but it was England that scored first with a try to Sam Burgess once again. The conversion made it 16-14 Englands way, and all of a sudden it was very, very interesting!

As was the theme of the entire match, Australia hit right back. Kurt Gidley went close, now playing at center for Justin Hodges, but Billy Slater scored a fairly easy try from the ruck and after the missed conversion Australia had a 18-16 lead.

Soon after a break by the Australia side and a perfect kick by Jonathan Thurston ssaw Brett Morris score another try in the corner. Australia were not up 22-16, England were staring to look tired, and in my opinion the biggest moment of the match was coming up.

From the kickoff English center Michael Shenton was knocked out cold after a head clash with Aussie prop Ben Hannant. Time was stopped as Shenton was stretchered off, and the way both teams handled the situation was quite different.

Australia switched off. They looked comfortable, they were talking to each other, they looked relaxed with the situation. England on the other hand looked tense, they burnt a lot of energy during this time off and that carried on through to another time off soon after when Ben Hannant himself was knocked about.

You could really see from the ensuing scrum, Australia looked chilled out, England looks way too tense.

From that point on it didn’t take long for Australia to really start to stretch their legs. They started moving the ball more and really hit their stride.

A Darren Lockyer kick was taken in goal by a flying Billy Slater, who battered the ball in the air, then flew over the dead ball line and in mid air, knocked it back into the field of play for a try under the posts to Cameron Smith. An amazing play.

Three minutes later Australia was in again, with more great work from Cameron Smith and Darren Lockyer putting Billy Slater in for another try. At that point, the game was all but over, but Australia had more brilliant football to play.

More Lockyer magic and a perfectly weighted kick saw Jarryd Hayne score a great try before smashing into the advertising boards hard. He was hurt, he managed to shake it off, but its ridiculous that in such a hard sport players have to worry about being injured by crap on the sidelines!

A burst down the sideline and a great infield kick by Kurt Gidley saw Billy Slater muscle his way to the ball to get his hat trick. This made the scoreline 46-16 ans Australia had played brilliant football to dominate the second half and win the 2009 Four Nations title!

The Referee
The New Zealand referee did his best, but he can expect to nevere referee a Test match again, mostly because referee’s that control games in which England has a massive loss get black banned by the RFL, no matter what country they come from.

He did have a bit of a shocker, but that was to be expected. Its ridiculous that a game of this importance didn’t go to the top official in the tournament, Shane Hayne.

Hayne was in attendance, looking over the shoulder of the English video referee who was an out and out joke. How these people keep their jobs in England is beyond me, its a farce.

I just hope that next year they look to bring in the two referee system into the Four Nations. We have these great teams and great players involved in scrappy contests because the officials being used are not up to standard. Having another set of eyes on the field will clear a lot of that up and will remove this stupid idea that a referee can be biased.

Biased refs are not Rugby League problem, incompetent referee’s very much are.

England’s Performance
They did well for the first 30 minutes but at the end of the day they were run off the park. Fitness become a problem and their big pack started to struggle against Australia’s more mobile forwards.

I still feel that Eastmond and Tomkins needs to switch positions. Eastmond is more of a ball runner while Tomkins tends to do to much running across field when he plays at Standoff. he needs to be more dominant, play more direct at the line, while I like Eastmond with a bit of space so he can use his speed, power and that kicking game of his.

The English backs did about as well as you can expect but they were always on a hiding to nothing. Make no mistake, England were well beaten up the middle of the field and any idea that England has the best pack in the world must now be shattered.

There are some good signs for the future for England, particularly in the halves and with a few of their forwards, but now these youngsters have been smashed by Australia, at home, in a final. You have to wonder how they will bounce back from that in Australia and New Zealand in next years Four Nations Tournament.

Australia’s Performance
Australia always seemed to be able to hit back when needed. When it come time to handle unusual situations, they handled it perfectly, and when it was time to put the pedla to the floor, they blew England off the park.

Australia will be much better for this Four Nations tournament. A number of the side had never really toured before, they were put under pressure and proved to themselves that they can get the job done.

I don’t think it can be over stated how much it means to a young side like this to be able to play in a different country, with poor officials with everything against them and still get a huge victory.

I think we’ll probably see some changes in this side and the way they approach Test football in the future though. I think we need more size in the pack and I hate to say it because he is a champion player, but I think it would be good for Australia to blood a new halves in next years Four Nations competition, at home.

Its an eye on the future, the 2013 World Cup will get here very quickly and you don’t want to be messing about with your halves combination to close to that tournament.

They had some off games but they got the job done in emphatic fashion, its hard to be too critical of them.

The Four Nations Tournament Overall
What a great competition! France got some much needed experience and bounced back from a disastrous World Cup last year. New Zealand played well and blooded a lot of good young players. England bounced back and showed a bit of life while Australia showed some vulnerability but at the end of the day stood tall when it counted.

The crowds were a mixed bag. With an average crowd of 16,584 for the tournament, it was a bit disappointing. When you consider that this was four of the best test teams in the world talking part in the countries that will host the 2013 World Cup, it is a real concern.

The officialdom was a disgrace, on and off the field. With some terrible refereeing performances, a couple of terrible venue choices and the farce that saw a park football referee from New Zealand controlling the biggest Test match of the year, really, what a disgrace.

I think over all the Four Nations got the job done though.

Looking Ahead
I think next year will be very interesting. I would suggest that Australia and New Zealand will go up another level, PNG will play tough and I have a feeling England will be in for some horrible struggles on the firmer pitches and the extreme heat.

It should be a very well supported competition though and I think this years Four Nations will have Australian and New Zealand based supporters really getting out in big numbers to games.

I hope at least one game is played in Papua New Guinea. I’m not sure that they will however, because they can’t sell corporate boxes up there and it is a lot of money for Channel Nine to send over a TV production crew, but it would be fantastic for the game in PNG.

Will we see Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva still be around? Will New Zealand be able to get back to their best? How much have PNG improved and how will England go after their last few disaster Down Under?

Thats It!
Well, thats the end of the 2009 Rugby League season! Its been an amazing year, one of the best I can remember.

The football was terrific, the crowds were huge, and hey, Australia walked away with the Four Nations trophy, it all worked out will at the end of the day!

Keep an eye on the web site during the off season. I have some changes planned, some big in depth articles on the way. We’ll have a look at all the off season news and I might have a bit of fun along the way too!

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