Rugby League: Mackay on a high

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The Independent Online
Huddersfield .........2 Australia ...........66

AUSTRALIA duly announced their arrival in England for the World Cup final in two weeks' time with a 13-try romp at Huddersfield last night.

After a shaky start, Australia settled down for a gentle practice run to start their build-up to Wembley. They began by conceding a string of untidy penalties and from one of them, for Glenn Lazarus's elbow on Jason Fogerty, Huddersfield had the small satisfaction of taking the lead. Sitting on that two-point advantage for the next 73 minutes was to prove a little beyond them.

Spurning an easy kick at goal, Australia started the inevitable avalanche just two minutes after Huddersfield's flash of audacity, moving the ball to the left wing for Bradley Clyde to score.

Clyde's superb dummy and pass to Steve Renouf created the opening for Tim Brasher to claim the second and Ricky Stuart and Mal Meninga then displayed fingertip control to send Graham Mackay in for his first.

The impressive Renouf sent Clyde striding on his destructive way once more and the nearest Huddersfield came to preventing Australia from scoring at will came when Lazarus charged straight into a goal post.

The substitute forward, Paul Harragon, avoided any such mishaps with his first touch. Mackay scored a facile second try with no defence at home on the blind side of a scrum and Steve Walters ran through some increasingly ragged tackling on the stroke of half time.

Huddersfield stepped up their efforts after the break with the modest consequence that it took Australia eight minutes to resume their try-scoring. Paul Sironen stood in the tackle to feed Stuart and Brasher raced in.

Huddersfield had the luxury of some sustained pressure in the Australian 25, during which Mackay was fortunate to avoid being sent off for a high tackle on Ian Thomas. Mackay survived with nothing worse than a penalty against his name and completed his hat-trick with an unstoppable rampage to ease Australia out of a fallow patch.

Sheer pace and power were enough for most of Australia's tries but some inventive handling set up Mackay, the former Bradford Northern winger, for his fourth. Renouf strolled in unopposed for Australia's 11th try before Bob Lindner and David Gillespie rounded off a highly satisfactory workout.

Huddersfield: Laurence; Naidole, Helliwell, Chapman, Thomas; Blacker (Davis, 13; Pearson, 59), Flanagan; Fogerty (Pucill, 50), St Hilaire, Pearce (Fogerty, 76), Pucill (Coulter, 44), Coulter (Sewell, 34; Simpson, 50), Senior.

AUSTRALIA: Godden (Newcastle); Brasher (Balmain), Renouf (Brisbane), Meninga (Canberra), Mackay (Penrith); Fittler (Penrith), Stuart (Canberra); Lazarus (Brisbane), S Walters (Canberra), Sargent (Newcastle), Sironen (Balmain), Cartwright (Penrith), Clyde (Canberra). Substitutes: Gillespie (Western Suburbs) for Lazarus, 34; Harragon (Newcastle) for Sargent, 27; Lindner (Western Suburbs) for Cartwright, 28; K Walters (Brisbane) for Godden, 40; Cartwright for Sinonen, 58; Sargent for Clyde, 63.

Referee: J Holdsworth (Kippax).