Five-try Holmes makes history as Kangaroos batter Samoa
Valentine Holmes made history with a five-try salvo as Australia marched ominously into the semi-finals of the Rugby League World Cup with a 46-0 battering of Samoa at Darwin Stadium.
The Kangaroos are resounding favourites to retain their title and demonstrated why in the first quarter-final on Friday, dishing out an eight-try thrashing to set up a clash with New Zealand or Fiji in Brisbane next Friday.
Winger Holmes was the star of the show, becoming the first player to score five tries in a World Cup match, and Billy Slater was also outstanding as the co-hosts ran riot.
Australia were out of sight at half-time, taking a 30-0 lead into the interval courtesy of doubles from Holmes and Michael Morgan, with Slater also scoring.
The clinical Holmes added another three for good measure to etch his name into the record books and Cameron Smith missed just one of eight conversions as Mal Meninga's men sauntered into the last four with a swagger, knocking Samoa out of the tournament without winning a match.
Holmes needed just nine minutes to put Australia in front, Josh Dugan rising to knock the ball back for the flyer to finish after a kick from Cooper Cronk.
The Cronulla Sharks speedster darted 80 yards for a second try eight minutes later after taking a pass from Cronk following brilliant defensive work from Slater, who had a try of his own when Matt Gillett played him in with a short ball.
Slater continued to torment Samoa and a he had big hand in a first try of the night for Morgan, who dotted down again five minutes later with Samoa not knowing what had hit them.
Smith slotted over a fifth conversion to put Mal Meninga's men 30-0 up at the break and Holmes leaped over to touch down in the corner for a treble after plucking a brilliant pass from the outstanding Slater 11 minutes after the interval.
Australia were relentless, Slater, Morgan and Cronk all involved in a move that resulted in try number four for Holmes, who crossed yet again thanks to an inviting pass from David Klemmer, the reliable Smith missing his only kick of a dominant evening for the world champions.