Australia deliver the magic

England 8 Australia 16 Try: Newlove 44 Tries: Wishart 7, Brasher 68 Goals: Johns 7, 68 Pens: GouldIng 5, 18 Pens: Johns 26, 30; Rugby League World Cup final: Johns drives Kangaroos to glory as brave England fail to close gap

AN AUSTRALIAN team shorn of some of their stars but none of their big match magic carried rugby league's Centenary World Cup from Wembley yesterday after an encounter that had all the stirring action this tournament deserved and the game so desperately needed.

England regularly forced themselves to within a fingertip of a telling breakthrough but were unable to cast off the weight of Australia's domination of the last 20 years. But no one should doubt the quality of their contribution to the World Cup.

The one gap that could not be disguised was that which separates the playing standards of the two countries. England did more than enough, especially in winning the opening match of the World Cup here four weeks ago, to bring 66,500 fans to Wembley with every confidence of a thriller.

No one would have been disappointed either with the teamwork or with some excellent individual performances, the choice of which was that of Andrew Johns, Australia's hooker and the man of the match.

England's cause did not suffer by the late inclusion of Wigan's Gary Connolly, who six weeks ago was in hospital with pneumonia. The intention was to play him for only 50 minutes but he stayed on the entire game and some of his tackles were so fierce the Australians might have suspected he was wearing an iron lung.

Indeed there was less danger to Connolly than there was some of his colleagues, who could have caught their deaths while standing in the draught of some of Australia's running.

There was the inevitable controversy with which English fans would have consoled themselves. Martin Offiah embarked on one of his thrillingly impulsive runs in the first half. He was eventually caught by the Australian full-back, Tim Brasher, but appeared to flick the ball back before he disappeared over the touchline and Paul Newlove kicked the ball ahead to score a try that was quickly disallowed because the linesman ruled Offiah in touch.

Before England's hopes were realistically extinguished with 14 minutes to go by a scrambling try from Brasher there were many such moments that might have tilted the game's balance.

England had opened up very confidently, but their assertive start had an immediate reward when an Australian defence put in disarray by the belligerent running of Jason Robinson yielded a penalty with which Bobbie Goulding gave England a fifth-minute lead. But direct from the resulting kick-off England made the concession that was to usher Australia into the game.

Phil Clarke tried to deaden Johns' kick-off with his boot and the ball span away. England were enveloped in a flood of green shirts and, which probed to the right of England's thin defence before Jeff Toovey switched direction with a long pass to Johns, whose kick arrowed behind England for Rod Wishart to beat Robinson narrowly for the try.

England recovered with another Goulding penalty that was helped in by the post, but England indiscipline led to a spate of penalties and Australia might have been further ahead at the interval. But there was a six-point deficit to overcome and when Newlove set about reducing it immediately after the interval England hopes soared to their highest point of the afternoon.

The England stand-off Tony Smith was pulled down by Toovey after a promising burst and from the play-the-ball Newlove got possession and bruised his way over for a try that brought England within two points.

Australia, however, then began one of the surest portions of their performance, piercing the England line with brilliant runs from Brasher and the deadly Steve Menzies. England's resistance was creaking like an old oak.

Goulding tried to push Australia back with some well-judged kicks but, inevitably, came the breakthrough that sends the World Cup to Australia. Johns, not unexpectedly, was at the heart of the movement that buckled the England defence a few yards to the left of their posts. The Australian hooker was well tackled as he made for the line but as he fell he brilliantly flicked the ball back for Brasher to kick it on.

The full-back Kris Radlinski failed to collect and Brasher scrambled on his hands and knees to score. It was ironic that a game of such flowing movement should be settled by something as ungainly, but it was enough.

England: Radlinski, Robinson, Connolly (all Wigan), Newlove (Bradford), Offiah (Wigan), Smith (Castleford), Goulding (St Helens), Harrison (Halifax), Jackson (Sheffield), Platt (Auckland), Betts (Auckland), Clarke (Sydney City Roosters), Farrell (Wigan). Substitutes: Cassidy for Harrison (30), Harrison for Platt (61), mins, Joynt for Cassidy (69), Platt for Harrison (71).

Australia: Brasher (Sydney Tigers), Wishart (Illawarra), Coyne (St George), Hill (Manly), Dallas (Sydney Bulldogs), Fittler (Penrith), Toovey (Manly), Pay (Sydney Bulldogs), A Johns (Newcastle), Carroll, Menzies (both Manly), Larson (North Sydney), Dymock (Sydney Bulldogs). Substitutes: Smith (blood) for Carroll (50), Carroll for Smith (61), Smith for Pay (75).

Referee: Stuart Cummings (England).

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living