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grind out victory in the wet at Wigan
Fulltime score: Tri-Nations Game IV Australia 20 def. Great Britain 6
Match summary: Australia have defeated Great Britain by 20 points to 6 in game 4 of the Gillette Tri-Nations series at JJB Stadium this evening.
Heavy rain fell furiously throughout the match, which restricted any plans the teams had of playing an expansive game. The Australian pack was superior in size and quality and this showed in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Australia got the scoring underway with backrower Craig Fitzgibbon converting a penalty goal attempt after just 4 minutes of play.
Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper intercepted a poor pass from Great Britain hooker Kieron Cunningham, then raced 80 metres to score under the posts, and put his team in control of the match with an 8-0 lead after the first quarter of the game.
Both sides slogged it out in the wet for the remainder of the first half, with Australia maintaining their 8 point advantage until the halftime break.
Great Britain hit back just 9 minutes into the second half. NRL star Adrian Morley [pictured] ran onto a crafty ball from Cunningham to score a much needed try, and put themselves back in business and reduce the deficit to two.
Both sides rolled the sleeves up for the next 20 minutes of the game, waiting for their opponents to crack under pressure.
But it was again the Aussies who prevailed in the tight contest, with two tries in the last 5 minutes to Anthony Minichiello and Cooper, with his second of the evening, to wrap the game up and give the Australians the victory by 20 points to 6.
Great Britain are now in grave danger of missing the final. Both Australia and New Zealand have two wins on the board with a superior points differential to the British. They will need to win their remaining two games by significant margins in order to make the final. Australia didn?t set the world on fire tonight but did enough to get the points, one gets the feeling that they will need to lift their game a few notches to match it with a red-hot Kiwi outfit, something they are more than capable of doing.
Scorers: GREAT BRITAIN LIONS 6 Tries: Morley Goals: Sinfield 1/1 AUSTRALIA KANGAROOS 20 Tries: Cooper 2, Minichiello Goals: Fitzgibbon 4/5
Venue: JJB Stadium Crowd: 25,004 Referee: Tim Mander Half time: Australia 8-0
Live commentary: JJB Stadium in Wigan sees Great Britain play host to Australia in Game 4 of the Gillete Tri-Nations series. This match looms as a must-win game for the British, a loss here would just about end their campaign.
Both sides are 1-17 as-per-program.
KICKOFF!, Match underway at JJB Stadium, Kieron Cunningham injures his elbow on the first tackle!
4 min: PENALTY GOAL-Australia Craig Fitzgibbon nails the attempt from 35 metres out on a slight angle. Australia 2-0
8 min: NEWS-Australia off to a very strong start, looking to get the ball wide to Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier early in their sets. Great Britain have done well to hold on and whether the storm.
15 min: NEWS-Great Britain bomb a golden opportunity to score the opening try of the game. They went on the attack after a mistake from Anthony Minichiello on his own line, but Martin Gleeson lost the ball on the 4th tackle, letting the Aussies off the hook. Still 2-0 in Australia's favour.
18 min: TRY-Australia Intercept try to Matt Cooper. A high looping pass from British hooker Kieron Cunningham was plucked out of the air by Cooper, who went in to score under the posts and has silenced the crowd. Conversion successful from Fitzgibbon. Australia 8-0
20 min: Heavy rain falling now in Wigan.
30 min: NEWS-Great Britain not testing Australia in defence. Far too much 1-out running with no attempts of angle running or second phase play.
36 min: NEWS-Heavy rain falling now in Wigan. This match is turning into a battle of the forward packs, with Australia on top at the moment. Still 8-0 Australia lead.
HALF TIME: Australia leads Great Britain 8-0 at halftime at JJB Stadium. The lone try of the half went to Matt Cooper at the 18th minute, intercepting a Kieron Cunningham pass and scoring under the posts. The game has been sorted out in the forwards thus far, with Australia's much larger pack proving to be too difficult to handle for the British. Great Britain will need to change their gameplan to have any chance in the second half, as their forwards have struggled to match the intensity of their Australian counterparts.
Second half underway in Wigan, and Paul Wellens loses the ball off the kickoff, poor start by Great Britain.
42 min: NEWS-Great effort by the British in defence, managing to hold Australia out.
49 min: TRY-Great Britain Adrian Morley scores under the posts after running onto a brilliant short-ball from hooker Kieron Cunningham. Conversion is successful from Kevin Sinfield. Australia 8-6
53 min: NEWS-Heavy rain falling in Wigan and this is becoming a slug-out between the two packs now. Willie Mason gets his first taste of the action for Australia, and the Aussies still hold a two-point advantage.
57 min: NEWS-Australia bomb a try with Gasnier putting a Minichiello pass to ground. 8-6 the score remains.
63 min: NEWS-Morley off injured for Great Britain but he should be returning shortly. Still 8-6 in favour of Australia.
69 min: NEWS-Morley back on for Great Britain. Australia still lead 8-6, both sides now looking for some individual brilliance from their playmakers to wrap this game up.
73 min: NEWS-Fitzgibbon misses a relatively easy shot at penalty goal. Australia will get the ball back from the 20 metre line drop-out.
75 min: TRY-Australia Anthony Minichiello scores after receiving a crafty inside pass from Darren Lockyer. Australia have wrapped this game up now. Fitzgibbon converts. Australia 14-6
78 min: TRY-Australia Matt Cooper gets his second try after a brilliant ball movement from the Australians, with Ben Kennedy and Lockyer again involved. Fitzgibbon's attempt at conversion is successful. Australia 20-6
FULL TIME: Australia have defeated Great Britain by 20 points to 6 at JJB Stadium. In the end, the Australians were superior to the British in every aspect of the game and deserve their victory, lifting in the important areas of the game when it mattered most. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M O'Meley (Australia) 2 - A Morley (Great Britain) 1 - M Cooper (Australia) ----------------------------------------- More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130