Rugby League: Meninga breaks Britain's resistance: Australians recover their full power to shackle the resilient Lions and ensure another series victory in the third and deciding Test

Australia .......16 Great Britain ...10

GREAT BRITAIN'S latest tilt at the Ashes here yesterday ended in the same way as all the others since 1970.

Finishing within one score of Australia could not disguise the fact that they were well beaten by a superior team on the occasion.

Just as they did in the third Test in 1990, Australia waited for the series decider to demonstrate their full power. They were fallible in both attack and defence in Melbourne last week; in the more familiar surroundings of Lang Park they dropped a few passes but they hardly missed a tackle.

That meant that it was five minutes from time before Great Britain got the break they needed, and it was far too late. The Australian captain, Mal Meninga, who became the record points-scorer in Ashes history in the match that made him Australia's most capped player, made his only mistake.

The ball that jolted out of his hands in a tackle dropped perfectly for Martin Offiah's toe and the winger's kick ahead bounced up for him to carry in for a try at his leisure.

If, instead of dropping on the ball between the posts, Offiah could have run through the packed terraces behind them and turned back the clock, Great Britain could have been in with a chance.

As it was, a six-point margin flattered them. The relieved Australian coach, Bob Fulton, could say in all sincerity: 'There is no gap between the countries now. We could play again tomorrow and the Poms could win.' But on the night, the gap was clear enough.

Throughout a first half which, had it not been an Ashes decider played in an electric atmosphere at one of the game's most atmospheric grounds, would have been condemned as an out and out bore, it was always Australia who looked threatening.

Their forwards were the ones making ground, thus giving Allan Langer and Laurie Daley room to work, which was denied Shaun Edwards and Garry Schofield. The other effect of Britain's failure to make progress was that their full-back, Graham Steadman, found himself kicking from deep in his own half with an inevitable loss of accuracy.

Within five minutes, Edwards was penalised for holding Willie Carne in a tackle and Meninga kicked the first of his four goals. Paul Eastwood equalised when Glenn Lazarus was punished for the same offence on Billy McGinty.

Daley's kick ahead brought the next points in what was becoming a feast for the connoisseur of penalty awards. Martin Dermott was whistled up for obstruction and Meninga again obliged. Bob Lindner and Paul Harragon preventing Kelvin Skerrett from playing the ball yielded the equaliser.

Skerrett's obstruction on Langer and a punch-up between Dermott and Steve Walters in which the British hooker was deemed the guilty party put Australia four points ahead by half- time, but that margin amounted to something of a let-off for a British side which had shown none of its Melbourne flair and penetration.

Australia got the try they had threatened early in the second half, even if there was a touch of luck about it. Daley's kick rebounded off the British defence for Andrew Ettingshausen and on the next tackle Brad Fittler managed to get his pass to Daley, whose power took him through the tackle and over the try line.

The game and the series were effectively won in the 54th minute and Daley, who endured such a nightmare in Melbourne, was again at the heart of the try. His kick towards the corner seemed to catch Offiah unawares and Meninga scored the points that put him ahead of Graeme Langlands' record with a clean pick-up and a surge that held off the joint tackle of Edwards and Denis Betts.

Meninga missed a second conversion, but Australia looked so confident that the best Britain could hope for was to limit the damage. A rampaging run by Bradley Clyde cut Great Britain apart again and only Harragon's knock-on saved a try which would have opened the floodgates.

You have to give credit, however, to Britain for their resilience, a commodity they possess in far greater abundance than at any time during their long quest for the Ashes.

Offiah's try created a brief illusion that they could snatch a draw. Edwards's kick saw Daley forced into touch and, from the scrum, Steadman's chip over the defence was cleaned up by Langer.

As the final hooter sounded, Dermott tried one last, desperate hoof downfield. As it sailed into touch, it took Great Britain's Ashes hopes with it for at least another two years.

There was one bright aspect. A six-point margin of defeat means that New Zealand must beat Papua New Guinea by 109 points in Auckland on Sunday to prevent a Great Britain-Australia World Cup final at Wembley in October.

As the 10,000 British fans, who produced an atmosphere which their side could not quite match, looked on the bright side of life and sang their new hit, 'Waltzing Meninga', into the night, that was something to hold on to.

AUSTRALIA: Ettingshausen (Cronulla); Carne (Brisbane), Fittler (Penrith), Meninga (Canberra, capt), Hancock (Brisbane); Daley (Canberra), Langer; Lazarus (both Brisbane), S Walters (Canberra), Harrigon (Newcastle), Sironen (Balmain), Lindner (Western Suburbs), Clyde (Canberra). Substitutes: Gillespie (Western Suburbs) for Sironen, 40; Johns (Brisbane) for Carne, 73; K Walters (Berisbane) for Ettingshausen, 73; Cartwright (Penrith) for Lindner, 73.

GREAT BRITAIN: Steadman (Castleford); Eastwood (Hull), Powell (Sheffield), Newlove (Featherstone), Offiah (Wigan); Schofield (Leeds, capt), Edwards; Skerrett, Dermott, Platt, Betts, McGinty, Clarke (all Wigan). Substitutes: Harrison (Halifax) for Skerrett, 50; Hulme (Widnes) for McGinty, 50; Connolly (St Helens) for Newlove, 62; Lydon (Wigan) for Schofield, 75.

Referee: D Hale (New Zealand).

(Photograph omitted)

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect