The curtain has officially closed on the 2011 Rugby League season, as the Australian Kangaroos claimed the Four Nations final 30-8 in front of a massive crowd at Elland Road. Australian Captain Darren Lockyer has been given a wonderful retirement gift of the Four Nations title.
The Kangaroos started match on fire with the first points collected by Sam Thaiday as he busted through the English defence on the back of a lovely Johnathan Thurston cross field kick. An early lead from the Australians 6-0 with Thurston's conversion.
Australia were their own worst enemy in the match despite some controversial decisions from match officials. Two tries were denied by Video Referee Ian Smith in the space of eight minutes in the first half. The first in the 12th minute with Akulia Uate denied as his foot slid over the touchline. The second a very questionable call against Chris Lawrence with Paul Gallen deemed to be inside the 10 metres of the goal from the kick.
Things didn't look good for the Australians as their chances to claim the title seemed to slim as the siren approached. Tony Williams busted up the line to attempt cross the stripe however lost control in the final moments, in the 31st minute.
A massive call against the Australians came four minutes before half time, with Ryan Hall awarded a penalty try. Johnathan Thurston threw an arm out in an effort to stop the play, a high shot was a result and Ian Smith had no issue in the decision. Kevin Sinfield locked the game up with his conversion, 6-all.
Just before the half time break, Australia stole the lead once again as Thurston opted for a penalty goal with England ruled to be offside. The siren sounded with the kick and the Kangaroos held a 2 point lead, 8-6.
Errors didn't seem to disappear on the other side of the break as both sides dropped opportunities to take the lead. Sinfield however again locked the game with his own penalty goal after Luke Lewis was penalised for holding too long in the ruck. 51 minutes gone, England 8-all.
The man upstairs was again brought into play as Jharal Yow Yeh ran the ball on the first play of the tackle restart. On replay he was short of the line and bundled into touch. Regardless of his effort in that play, he made up for it three minutes later with a certain 4-pointer.
Open space on the wing saw Yow Yeh stroll over to score on the back of good wide play from Australia. The lead theirs once again with 24 minutes left of the clock, 14-8.
The match was all but sealed with the first of three tries to close the match. Man of the Match Johnathan Thurston put his mark on two of them as the halfback crossed in the 61st minute. Paul Gallen provided the work to set up JT. The second of Thurston's handy work was demonstrated seven minutes later as Greg Inglis made light work of his opposition to score. Off a step and pass from Thurston, Australia after 68 minutes strong 26-8.
The script writers could not of made it a more fitting farwell from Rugby League for Australian captain Darren Lockyer. The masterclass himself crossed just before full time as he grubber for the goals. The kick hit the uprights and founded the arms of Lockyer to dive over. Australia sealed the 2011 Four Nations title with a victory of England 30-8. The match closed with the retiree given the kicking tee for this final attempt at conversion. The attempt was appalling as it sailed across the face of goals.
Another marvelous career closed as the siren sounded around Elland Road as Lockyer led the Kangaroos to another piece of Rugby League silverware.
England 8 were defeated by Australia 30
Four Nations - Four Nations Final - Sunday November 20, 2011 4:00am
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds
Referee: Matt Cecchin
Video Referee: Ian Smith
Touch Judges: James Child and Shane Rehm
Halftime: England 6 Australia 8
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (1 Try, 4 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
2 Points - Paul Gallen
1 Point - Luke Lewis
Tries: Ryan Hall
Conversions: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Kevin Sinfield (1/1)
Tries: Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday, Jharal Yow Yeh
Conversions: Darren Lockyer (0/1), Johnathan Thurston (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Johnathan Thurston (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Morning Australian League fans, and a good evening to those in England - expected kick off is at 5am AEDST and 6PM local time.
The England squad have been relaxed, yet confident heading into this encounter of the Four Nations Final. Whilst the Australians will be looking reclaim the top prize of the tourment since they last won in 2009. England haven't won the title under the Four Nations, however they did finish as Runners' Up against Australia in the 2009 competition.
The Kangaroos will be looking to seal the victory for Darren Lockyer's final Rugby League match at Elland Road this morning.
We are 30 minutes away from seeing the start of the Four Nations Final getting underway. News coming through that Jonathan Thurston did not train yesterday, however he is expected to play. The only other possible change before kick off is that David Shillington may start off the bench.
Moments away from the start of the final match of the 2011 Rugby League season. Both sides are out and ready. Standing side by side for the National Anthems.
A full house here at Elland Road this morning. A massive welcome was given to both sides as they walked out. Our referee this morning is Matt Cecchin, England kicking off and Australia getting first use. WE ARE UNDERWAY IN THE FOUR NATIONS FINAL
1 min: Darren Lockyer closing the first set for the Australians on the back of good defence from England. Sam Tomkins getting a massive cheer as he returned the ball to the line.
2 min: Darius Boyd flying through under the high ball of Kevin Sinfield. However a penalty to the Kangaross for a strip against Sinfield on Uate.
4 min: TRY
The Kangaroos pull first blood in the contest with Sam Thaiday busting through the line on the back of a lovely Jonathan Thurston corner kick. Chris Lawrence popping it back on the inside to sent him over. JT no issues with the conversion.
6 min: After the try, Australia back on the attack straight away with a stabbing kick downfield from Lockyer but easily collected by Tomkins.
6 min: Penalty England! Chris Lawrence laying in the ruck. England attacking on the Australian 40 metre line.
8 min: Kick over the top from the English has seen the ball bounce away from Uate from in goals and Sinfield kick gives the Kangaroos a 20 metre restart.
9 min: KNOCK ON! Chris Lawrence looking to stroll over, however running through without the ball. Lockyer looking for second phase play, but failing to come off. England with the scrum on their 10 metre line.
11 min: Wonderful kick-chase from the Australians on the back of their set. The pressure holding to force a quick pass going to miss. The Kangaroos getting a scrum feed as a result on the England 10 metre line. Here is their chance for more points.
12 min: Video Referee Decision Pending for Australia. Possible try for Uate.
12 min: NO TRY! Video Referee Ian Smith spinning up the red lights for the Australians. No issue with the possible obstruction play, but in the end Uate's foot sliding over the sideline before planting it down. England working it away from their own line.
13 min: Massive kick downfield from England forcing Boyd to play at it just inside the goal line.
13 min: Thurston's kick controlling the game, the ball from inside the Australian half finding the sideline and England get the scrum feed.
15 min: Sam Tomkins showing signs of danger against the Australians. Ellis getting caught on the last tackle with the ball and forced to grubber it on the ground.
16 min: KNOCK ON! Watmough losing control of the ball with a little help from an English hand. However scrum packs down on the 20 metre line.
17 min: England continually look for the second phase play in the sets, however the Australia defense is too strong.
19 min: Quick hands from the Australians, running downfield 50 metres on the legs of Uate. But Sam Thaiday has coughed it up with a terrible pass thrown to him. Australia with a massive lost chance to extend the lead.
20 min: Jon Wilkin forced to put a massively high kick up in the air on the end of a poor English set. Yow Yeh under it for the Australians.
20 min: Video Referee Decision Pending for Chris Lawrence.
20 min: NO TRY! Australia failing to convert their chances into points. Chris Lawrence not getting the points, but England getting a penalty.
23 min: Another penalty England. Cameron Smith penalised for being offside before his last play kick.
25 min: England with a great chance to level the game. But again the pressure from the Australian holding strong. Last tackle change over to the Australians on their 10 metre line.
25 min: 20 metre restart for the English. Australia with a controlled set with the ball finding the dead ball line.
26 min: Kevin Sinfield controlling the flow of the game with a grubber through the line, looking for a chance but rolling dead. Australia with a scrum feed on their own 10 metre line.
28 min: Lockyer's kick bouncing away from Yow Yeh and going dead over the sideline. England with a scrum on their 10 metre line now. It's becoming end to end stuff.
29 min: Referee awarding a scrum feed to Australia for England passing the ball after the held call came. Australia attacking 20 metres from the goal line.
31 min: KNOCK ON! Big Tony Williams on the end of a lovely play busting over the line, but before he could ground it, losing it. Scrum now for England on the 10 metre line. Australia have bombed their chances this morning at the English line. The score should be greater then 6-0.
32 min: Boyd under the high ball with no issues to collect the Sinfield kick. Australia are down to 12 men on the field with Uate getting some assistance from the trainer.
33 min: PENALTY! Tony Williams coming through with a high shot. Australia losing control in the past minute. The previous play Boyd contesting the high ball and knocking on.
34 min: Penalty England. Paul Gallen holding down in the ruck.
34 min: Gallen jumping out of the line looking for the intercept play, but knocking on. England with a scrum feed in front of the posts. A chance before the break to level the game.
35 min: KNOCK ON! A little fingertip from Inglis on the ball and knocking on. Another scrum for England.
36 min: TRY
PENALTY TRY! England
Ryan Hall collects the points for England on the back of great passing wide to the wing. The Video referee Ian Smith deems the high shot from Johnathan Thurston prevented Hall from scoring. We are now all locked up.
39 min: On the back of a great open space field from Darius Boyd as now seen the Australians get a penalty for England being offside. A penalty goal attempt to follow before the half time siren.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL
GOAL! Thurston has easily sailed over the posts. Australia taking a 2 point lead into the break.
HALF TIME here at ELLAND ROAD. Australia hold a slim lead over England 8 points to 6 at the break. Controversy with some of the refereeing decision again from match official Matt Ceechin. Despite his decisions, Australia have bombed multiple chances to extend the lead with a tries being denied by Video Referee Ian Smith.
But Australia have been their own worst enemy with errors costing them points.
40 min: We are underway for the second 40 minutes in this Four Nations final. This will be the final half for captain Darren Lockyer in his Rugby League career. England get the first use of the ball to start the half.
40 min: Kevin Sinfield looked to opt with an early advantage play with a 40/20, however the ball rolling dead over the line to give the Australians a 20 metre restart.
42 min: Luke Lewis contesting the high ball on the last tackle but being caught. Change over on the English 10 metre line.
43 min: Thurston playing with some anger. with another high shot coming from him on Sam Tomkins at the back.
44 min: Bouncing and bouncing and almost sitting up with the long kick downfield from Cameron Smith. The kick just going dead for an England 20 metre restart.
46 min: KNOCK ON! Australia looking a little confused. Inglis out on the wing trying to gather the ball from behind him losing control. England with a scrum feed and chance for the lead 20 metres from the line
47 min: England looking to get over the line with quick hands, however Thurston pushing up in the line and stealing it from the English.
48 min: KNOCK ON! England in control to start this half with James Roby opening up the line. Sinfield trying to gather the ball from the offload.
50 min: Australia are their own worst enemy in this match with errors giving England many opportunities to add points. England attacking inside the 20 metre line.
51 min: Penalty England!
51 min: PENALTY GOAL
GOAL! Kevin Sinfield adds the extras from the penalty. Luke Lewis was penalised for holding off a player from the ball. England locking the game at 8-all.
52 min: KNOCK ON! England again looking for quick hands have coughed it up on their line. Australia with their first real chances in the second half.
52 min: ZERO TACKLE! Australia with the chance now to get the lead back.
53 min: Video Referee Decision Pending for Australia. Yow Yeh on the zero tackle looking for the corner.
53 min: NO TRY! Yow Yeh on the last tackle ran to the corner and Ian Smith the Video referee denies the Australian's points. A poor judgement call from the Kangaroos. The ball planted down short at the line before being forced over the sideline.
56 min: TRY
Following his first attempt at a similar play, the Australia finding Yow Yeh in open space on the wing to stroll over to score. Yow Yeh grounding it just inside the dead ball line. Thurston adds the extras from the sideline without an issue.
59 min: Scrum feed England as Chris Lawrence was sent over the sideline.
61 min: TRY
Great work from the Australians, namely Paul Gallen for his great break through the line to offload to Thurston on the inside. Thurston putting the foot down to score under the posts.
65 min: KNOCK ON! Under the international rules, England giving up their advantage by passing the ball. Uate with the first knock on with the ball dropping through this arms, but England then knocked on. So Australian scrum feed.
68 min: TRY
Greg Inglis making up for some of his mistakes earlier in the match with his own try. Thurston providing the ground work with a great step and wide pass. Inglis uncontested running. Thurston converting the goal.
70 min: England getting a penalty now with Cronk holding down the play in front of the posts. They attack outside their 30 metre line.
73 min: KNOCK ON! Simple error on halfway has given the Australian's a scrum feed.
74 min: KNOCK ON! Losing control of the ball Keith Galloway to hand the ball back to England on their 20 metre line.
76 min: Some sparks of brillance showing late from England at the line however the kick poor to end the set and collected by the Australians.
79 min: TRY
Darren Lockyer has closed his career with his own piece of masterclass. Grubbing into the goals, however the ball hitting the posts and bouncing back to him for him to dive over. Lockyer giving the boot to seal the win. The attempt was terrible at best sailing right away from the posts.
80 min: That's all she wrote. Full Time from Elland Road. Australia close the 2011 Rugby League season as the Four Nations title holders with a defeat over England 30-8.