Kangaroos crush England to eliminate Four Nations hosts


England were emphatically dumped out of the Four Nations on Sunday courtesy of a 36-18 defeat to Australia, who will now face New Zealand in next weekend's final.

A draw at London Stadium would have been enough for the hosts to earn a rematch with the Kangaroos at Anfield in seven days, but world champions Australia proved far too strong as they maintained their perfect record with a degree of comfort.

Mal Meninga's side led 10-6 following a penalty-laden first half and duly surged clear with three tries in quick succession after the interval.

That put the result beyond doubt and England appear to have plenty of work to do ahead of next year's Rugby League World Cup, the much-hyped arrival of Wayne Bennett as head coach having failed to yield an immediate upturn in fortunes.

By contrast, Australia remain favourites to regain the title they gave up to New Zealand two years ago. The three meetings between the trans-Tasman rivals this year have all gone in the Kangaroos' favour - including last week's group match in Coventry.

England were 6-2 up after 27 minutes on Sunday, Gareth Widdop and Johnathan Thurston exchanging penalties before Jermaine McGillvary produced a fine finish in the right corner to reward his team's decision to turn down a second shot at goal.

However, it was not long before Australia responded - Darius Boyd producing a wonderful cut-out pass under pressure to put Blake Ferguson over for a try that Thurston converted.

After Josh Hodgson had failed to find touch from a penalty, Thurston added two more to the Kangaroos' total with the last kick of the first half.

England started the second period brightly, but were soon facing a heavy defeat as their opponents moved into top gear.

Greg Inglis dummied between Widdop and McGillvary to put Australia two scores clear and a powerful run from the South Sydney Rabbitohs back led to Matt Scott barging over for another try.

Scott's touchdown was followed almost immediately by an eye-catching breakaway effort that culminated in Cooper Cronk sending Josh Dugan clear.

That ended the match as a contest before a late flurry of tries - which saw Widdop and Ryan Hall cross for England, only for Matt Gillett and Valentine Holmes to respond - was of little significance.

As England's frustrations threatened to boil over, skipper Sam Burgess appeared fortunate to avoid punishment for punching David Klemmer during a brief flare-up that followed Gillett's score.