Tries from Andrew Cridland, Matt Johnstone and Sean Jenkins secured the win for the Australians, who were efficient and determined throughout.
Ecstatic Kangaroo coach Craig Sheridan beamed afterwards as his coaching staff traditionally threw the contents of the ice bucket over him, “It feels fantastic. We were disappointed in 2008 and we knew we had a job to do coming here,” he said.
“We had a game plan and executed it well. We were always in control and never trailed. We had to play a structured game and keep tough defensively and thankfully we did.” Sheridan added, "It is the pinnacle of my coaching career a memorable victory".
The Fijians – whose colourful fans sang their encouragement from the stands in perfect harmony, engaging the neutrals – were hampered by three sinbinnings and always looked to promote the ball regardless of field position.
Their endearing display was marred, though, by an horrific-looking injury sustained by second-rower Metui Volavola, who was rushed to hospital in a neck brace needing the aid of oxygen.
The Australian’s executed the basics better than their Pacific Island rivals, whose profligacy and ill-discipline cost them dearly.
The holders arrived late due to traffic congestion causing the kick off to be delayed by 15 minutes and should have taken an early lead.
Navitali Nasilisili’s missed penalty from in front of the posts was a sign of things to come, and Australia duly took the lead in the eighth minute when Kalino Mateoki inexplicably left James Bartholomew’s kick to run dead, allowing Cridland to touch down unopposed as the Fijian winger looked on, Bartholomew converting.
Fiji continued to play on the edge, and referee Chris Campbell lost patience with their high tackles and delaying tactics at the play the ball, sending Dominic Pene to the sin-bin.
Australia needed no invitation to capitalise, and when Nasilisili failed to kick to touch with a penalty Johnstone made him pay, wriggling his way over to make it 10-0.
Despite having former Rhino Scott Donald back home in their ranks, Australia were pegged back on the half hour when Jonacani Eranovanua crashed over following Navitalai Ratulevu‘s initial break. Nasilisili added the extras to reduce the arrears to four points.
Despite forcing themselves back into contention, Fiji were still producing a number of errors while continuing to allow the Australians up-field with penalties.
Atunaisa Turagaiviu became the second Fijian to be shown a yellow card with five minutes of the half remaining, Bartholomew landing a penalty to give Australia a 12-6 half-time lead.
The Aussies could not amass further points before Turagaiviu’s reintroduction and were stunned when the Fijians levelled the game.
Akuil Masi was the instigator, breaking the Australian line before passing to Joseph Katonibow and, despite having the ball ripped out of his clutches by Marc Smith, Eranovanua instinctively picked up to go over between the posts.
Nasilisili converted to tie the game with 35 minutes remaining.
The grit of the Australian’s saw them hit back just two minutes later, Jenkins finishing a wonderful flowing move in the corner, Bartholomew wide with the extras.
Both sides tussled for an opening and it was the patient Australian’s who came up with the next score as Bartholomew added another penalty following further Fiji misdemeanours.
It proved crucial as, soon afterwards, Maika Navuni crossed for the defending champions after a superb piece of interplay down Fiji’s left hand side.
Decisively, Nasilisili’s kick went excruciatingly wide, leaving the Batis two points behind with 17 minutes remaining.
Following Kameli Vaniqi’s sinbinning, the game was halted for ten minutes as Volavola received treatment for his injury.
Fiji pushed for an opening and came close to securing glory when the dangerous Eranovanua broke through the line, but Nasilisili could not gather the stand-offs pass and Australia’s determined defence ensured they hung on for victory.
Australian Police trainer Peter Nissen was on the inaugural tour to the UK in 1990 and has been involved in many campaigns. Peter, affectionately known as the 'Hoff' by the team said, "This is the best Australian Police side I have seen. Not only is there an abundance of talent, courage and mate-ship amongst all of the squad, these blokes are fantastic people off the field as well. Everyone got on famously and there was not one iota of I'm from Queensland or I'm from NSW, we were all proud Australians. Their respective Police superiors should know they have some quality men on their books".
1, Scott Donald, 2, Mick Fortier, 3, Dan McMah, 4, Marc Smith, 5, Andrew Cridland,6, James Bartholomew, 7, Russell Satour,8, Tom Bissett, 9, Michael Ryan, 10, Mitch West, 11, Jason Klimmis, 13, Phil Stoneham, 17, Sean Jenkins.
Substitutes: 12, Sam McGregor, 19, David Cox, 20, Matt Johnstone, 23, Tim Pont
Tries: Cridland, Johnstone, Jenkins
Goals: Bartholomew 3
15, Kameli Vaniqi 21, Kalino Mateoki 10, Navitalai Ratulevu 14, Josateki Nasilisili 3, Ovini Burekalou 22, Maika Navuni 11, Jonacani Eranovanua 8, Akuila Masi 12, Metui Volavola 1, Sam Kounamitou 5, Apenisa Canasau 20, Dominic Pene 13, Atunaisa Turagaiviu
Substitutes 19, Isireli Kaloucava 18, Joseph Katonibow 2, Asava Paleye 7, Soleca Tourer
Tries: Eranovanua 2, Navuni
Goals: Nasilisili 2
Half time: 12-6
Referee: Chris Campbell
Men of the Match: AUSTRALIA - Matt Johnstone FIJI -Jonacani Eranovanua
Australia qualified for Sunday’s Police World Cup final after a dramatic late comeback to beat holders Fiji 32-24 at the Big Fella’s Stadium in Featherstone.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, the Kangaroos were 24-14 down, and Fiji looked the most likely side to score again.
But a flurry of late tries from Michael Ryan, the impeccable James Bartholomew and Phil Stonham meant Australia will top the group, with a maximum four points from their two games.
The match started at a hectic pace and there were brutal defensive hits from both sides. After 12 minutes FIJI's Navitalai Ratulevu used his pace to touchdown in the corner.
Moments after his try saving tackle on Liam Watson, Ratulevu was in again seven minutes later, but it was called back for an obvious forward pass.
Sean Jenkins overcame willing FIJI defence and managed to score skilfully for Australia.
FIJI Jock Luita had an effort of his own disallowed for Fiji after he made a double-movement, but despite Bartholomew’s scintillating jinxing try from 30 metres, the Aussies only led by two at the break, after Ratulevu once again used his explosive speed to score.
When Marc Smith went over just after half time, it looked like Australia would run away with it.
But their spirited opponents had other ideas, and tries from Esava Delai, Epeli Soro and Akuila Masa put them 10 points clear, after Josateki Naisilisili successfully converted twice.
As the game started to stretch, the leaders began to tire, and Australia were fired up following some tough tackling. Michael Ryan’s try on 69 had everyone wondering if this was going to be a typical green and gold performance.
It was, and when Bartholomew burst through under the sticks to put them ahead five minutes from time, Fijian heads dropped, and Phil Stonham after a fantastic performance, deservedly managed to muster up a try that added gloss to the scoreline.
Coach Craig Sheridan was delighted with the display.
“It was a terrific performance, especially since Fiji are the world champions,” said Sheridan. “They’re very big and very mobile, and there was a 15 minute period in the second half where they got away.
“But we came back yet again, and we kept coming and worked hard until the end. And that’s what you have to do against Fiji.
“We are happy to get to the final, we can now sit back and watch Fiji against Great Britain on Thursday, and we go from there.”
Coach Sheridan asserted that the character showed to claw back victory from the FIJIAN's was a "fantastic victory" for Australia. He added, "We know whoever we play in the final will be very tought, but we will be meticulously preparing for the game and can't wait".
The game was watched by Australian Kangaroo coach Tim Sheens and the CEO of the NRL David Smith.
Australia: 1. Scott Donald 18. Liam Watson 3. Dan McMah 4. Marc Smith 5. Andrew Cridland 6. James Bartholomew 7. Russel Satour 8. Tom Bissett 9. Michael Ryan 10. Mitch West 11. Jason Klimis 13. Phil Stonham 17. Sean Jenkins SUBS 14. Arron Bowman 19. Dave Cox 16. Leo Clarke 20. Matt Johnstone
Tries: Jenkins, Bartholomew 2, Smith, Ryan, Stonham
Goals: Bartholomew 4
Fiji: 15. Kameli Viniqi 10. Navitalai Ratulevu 14. Josateki Naisilisili 3. Ovini Burekalou 2. Esava Delai 6. Epeli Soro 11. Jonacani Eranavanua 1. SAMUELA KUNANITU 9. Jock Luita 8. Akuila Masi 5. Apenisa Canasau 4. Kiniviliame Namoumou 13. Atunaisa Turagaiviu SUBS 7. Jim Patrick 12. Metui Volavola 20. Dominic Pene 22. Maika Nanuni
Tries: Ratulevu 2, Delai, Soro, Masi
Goals: Naisilisili 2
GAME 1 AUSTRALIAN POLICE: Australia 56 - 18 GB
05th July 2013, 23:17
Australia began their Police World Cup campaign with an impressive 56-18 victory over hosts Great Britain in the competition's opening game at Dewsbury on Friday night.
Great Britain sneaked into an early lead when Adam Newton kicked a penalty in front of the posts, but it was short lives as Mark Smith broke through the British defence to cross in the corner and give the Australian's a 4-2 lead.
Despite Britain having their fair share of the ball, they failed to find good territory and were punished when stand-off James Bartholomew, who assisted the first try, crossed to extend his side's lead. Bartholomew was over once again four minutes later as Australia took an ominous 14-2 lead.
Britain struck back just moments later, as centre Andy Eastham barged his way through several tackles to cut the defecit to eight. Australia then landed a sucker punch to Mark Robinson’s side as Matt Johnstone ran 20 metres to give the Aussies a 20-6 half time lead.
Captain Michael Ryan got Australia off to the perfect start in the second half as he easily passed through weak British defence to make the job for Britain even more difficult with just 41 minutes on the clock.
Australia’s 20 point lead didn’t affect Britain’s fighting spirit, as a try of real class was scored by Chris Sheffield after a fantastic exchange between Adam Newton and Darrell Rotherham. Newton’s conversion gave Britain the hope they desperately needed.
That hope was dashed once again though, as Ryan scored his second, with Andrew Cridland superbly taking in a high kick minutes later for his first try, as Australia threatened a rout.
Johnstone showed his speed and skill once more for the Aussies, breaking through a tiring British defence to score his second of the evening.
Britain did treat the crowd to one final rally, as Earl Gorman scored a scrappy try, with an excellent Newton conversion meaning the Australian's lead was cut down to 26.
Fittingly, it was the ever threatening Johnstone who scored again, as he completed his hat-trick, and brought up an Australian half century before former Leeds Rhinos star Scott Donald added another under the posts for Australia to close out the 56-18 victory.
Australia coach Craig Sheridan was delighted with the result and the performance of his team in their opening match.
“We’re very happy with the result. We had a long plane trip and only got here on Wednesday so to play like that was very satisfying,” he said.
“I’m very happy with our defence. We defended with pride and passion". Coach Sheridan also asserted that the platform laid by Props Mitch West, Tom Bissett, Dave Cox and Sam McGregor, paved the way for the Australian backline to show their skills.
Great Britain played very well right till the end and they can have a lot of pride in their jersey after that performance.”
Australia will face World Champions Fiji on Monday (Bigfella’s stadium, Featherstone) in what could be a game between the two eventual finalists.
For Robinson and his Great Britain side, their shot at redemption will come on Thursday against Fiji (Provident Stadium, Bradford.)
1. Dave Green 2. Earl Gorman 3. Chris Sheffield 4. Andy Eastham 5. Phil Green 6. Adam Newton 18. Adam Myers 8. Jason Southwell 9. Paul Hughes 10. Andy Woodhead 11. Matt Clarke 12. Darrell Rotherham 13. Kieron Maddocks Interchange: 17. Sean Long 23. James Gross 16. Austin Thompson 19. Andy Jackson
Tries: Eastham, Rotherham, Gorman
Goals: Newton 3
Head Coach: Mark Robinson
1. Scott Donald 2. Mick Fortier 3. Dan Mcmah 4. Marc Smith 5. Andrew Cridland 6. James Bartholomew 7. Russell Satour 8. Tom Bisset 9. Michael Ryan 10. Mitch West 11. Jason Klimis 13. Phil Stonham 17. Sean Jenkins Interchange 12. Sam McGregor 19. Dave Cox 20. Matt Johnstone 23. Tim Pont
Head Coach: Craig Sheridan
Tries: Smith, Bartholomew 2, Ryan 2, Johnstone 3, Cridland, Donald
Goals: Bartholomew 8
Half time score: 6-20
Full time: 56-18