Aussies pile on the agony
England still searching for success against the Green and Gold
Last Updated: 19/11/11 8:17pm
Sam Thaiday scores Australia's first try
Australia regained the Gillette Four Nations title with a 30-8 victory over England in the final at Elland Road.
Just as they were two years ago on the same ground, England were in the contest until around the hour mark, when the Kangaroos took control and ultimately cruised home to victory.
But this time the disappointment for the hosts cuts deeper because hopes were so much higher coming into the game.
England genuinely believed that this was their time to beat Australia in a major tournament after nearly 40 years of failure, and for more than half the game a capacity crowd at Elland Road dared to believe with them.
But those hopes disappeared in 15 second-half minutes as Australia ran in three converted tries.
England certainly rode their luck to stay with the Aussies as they survived a series of first-half scares after Sam Thaiday beat Tom Briscoe to Jonathan Thurston's cross-kick to touch down in the corner after just three minutes, a try which Thurston converted.
Jack Reed was forced into a try-saving tackle on Akuila Uate in the corner and Chris Lawrence was unlucky to have a try chalked off by the video referee for offside, after Sam Tomkins failed to deal with a steepling kick from Darren Lockyer.
Lockyer could not believe it when Thurston failed to pass when he was free for a simple score, then Tony Williams burst through only to drop the ball over the try-line.
England were hardly in the game - except on the scoreboard - but they took their chance when it came.
They finally built up some pressure on the Australia line after two knock-ons and Kevin Sinfield's fine pass looked to have put his Leeds colleague Ryan Hall in at the corner.
But the winger dropped the ball touching down - as he was clattered by a high shot by Thurston - and the video referee awarded a penalty try.
The Australians edged ahead again with the last kick of the half when Lockyer's break forced Garreth Ellis to be caught offside, Thurston knocking over the kick for an 8-6 half-time lead.
England's best period came immediately after half-time as they piled on the pressure but decided to take the two points on offer after Ellis was tackled without the ball.
That was the signal for Australia to assume control.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan was penalised for holding on and moments later Darius Boyd put Jharai Yow Yeh in at the corner, with the metronomic Thurston converting.
Just past the hour mark Paul Gallen burst through the middle and Thurston was on his shoulder to slide in under the posts.
England's last chance arrived five minutes later. Uate failed to deal with a high kick but James Roby's pass to Ellis went to ground and Greg Inglis quickly made them pay, an outrageous dummy taking him over unopposed.
All that remained was for Darren Lockyer to have the final say in his last appearance on a rugby field.
He duly did, completing his 59th and final cap by sliding in a grubber kick against an upright and then touching down. His conversion attempt is best forgotten. England will feel the same about the entire second half.