Australia thrash Scotland in Four Nations opener


Australia kicked off their Four Nations campaign in dominant fashion as Scotland were thrashed 54-12 at Hull's KC Lightstream Stadium on Friday.

Mal Meninga's Kangaroos are seeking to win back the title from New Zealand and will know that far tougher tests await against hosts England and their southern hemisphere rivals.

Even without the likes of Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, Australia were simply too strong for their overawed opponents as some of Meninga's fringe players staked a claim.

The tone was set inside five minutes, Blake Ferguson touching down after a scrum that saw Australia load the open side.

Cooper Cronk and James Maloney then got in on the act, the former touching down after an excellent kick through by captain Cameron Smith.

The punishment kept coming, with Cronk adding his second before a quick-fire double from Penrith Panthers star Josh Mansour.

Scotland, who had for so long been restricted to watching Australia cut them to ribbons, got a try back just before the break.

Debutant Ryan Brierley chased down a neat kick from skipper Danny Brough to give Steve McCormack's side something to savour.

The onslaught slowed after the interval, though Josh Dugan did storm over from deep inside his own half only three minutes in.

Scotland were next to cross, Ben Kavanagh the man with the honours, but Australia predictably had the last say.

Further damage was inflicted courtesy of tries from Tyson Frizell, Michael Morgan and Jake Trbojevic before Scotland's chastening first meeting with the Kangaroos came to an end.

Scotland will head to the World Cup next year, but might want to avoid one of the joint-hosts - Australia.