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England notch consolation win over Papuans
England have finished their Four Nations campaign with a comfortable but unconvincing 36-10 win over a wholehearted Papua New Guinea outfit in a scrappy clash at Eden Park.
With both sides searching for their first win of the tournament, England started the match pressured by some rough defence but regained composure to post a 24-0 lead at halftime - debutant centre Tony Clubb grabbed three tries.
Clubb crossed for his fourth try in the second half but the Kumuls held their own, scoring twice themsleves while holding England to just two tries.
Unfortunately, as has been the case throughout the Four Nations, Papua New Guinea were cruelled by poor ball security and the result should have been closer if not for fundamental errors.
English halfback Luke Robinson opened the scoring when he ducked to the line in the 18th minute before four further tries gave his side a 24-nil advantage at the break.
Interchange forward Ben Harrison crashed over to increase England's lead but a determined Papua New Guinea refused to say die - they got on the board thanks to a surge from prop Makali Aizue in the 55th minute.
A nifty grubber then provided the spark for cult hero Emmanuel "The Jukbox" Yere to capitalise on an overlap and slam the ball down in the corner, reducing the deficit to 30-10. However, England had the final say thanks to four-try rookie Clubb.
In injury news, both Sam Burgess and Robinson left the field with arm injuries, although the severity of the problems are currently unknown.
Despite regaining some pride, the Poms will be left to reflect on yet another poor tour in which they failed to mount any meaningful challenge to New Zealand or Australia.
On the other hand, Papua New Guinea were valliant in defeat but the decision to usurp Adrian Lam as coach and push for domestic-based players looks to have hurt their competitiveness in the short term.
England 36 defeated Papua New Guinea 10
International - Four Nations: Week Three - Saturday November 6, 2010 4:00pm
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Shane Rehm (NZ)
Video Referee: Russell Smith (AU)
Touch Judges: Daniel Caddy (NZ) and Paul Holland (AU)
Halftime: England 24 Papua New Guinea 0
Tries: Luke Robinson (2), Ben Harrison, Tony Clubb (4)
Conversions: Ben Westwood (3/4), Gareth Widdop (1/3)
PAPUA NEW GUINEA (10)
Tries: Emmanuel Yere, Makali Aizue
Conversions: Dion Aiye (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to LeagueUnlimited's coverage of the first game of the Four Nations double header at Eden Park. Both England and Papua New Guinea are searching for their first win of the tournament - the Kumuls will fancy their chances considering they got with 10 points of the Poms in the 2008 World Cup.
We're set for a big crowd too, apparently well over 40,000 tickets have been sold. Clear skies as well.
It's a feast of rugby league today, so stay tuned for live updates of the main course between New Zealand and Australia at the conclusion of this game.
England make their way out on to the field to the sound of a few jeers.
A stirring rendition of 'God Save the Queen' is met by a short but vocal war cry from PNG.
1 min: Kick off! The Kumuls get things underway.
2 min: Weird start, England fail to get a kick away so James Graham soccers it along the ground but then PNG knock on attempting to pick it up.
4 min: Papua New Guinea with another knock on - the tale of the 2010 Four Nations for them, their handling's really let them down.
6 min: Big surge from Makali Aizue, before PNG actually get a kick away on the last!
9 min: James Graham of all people strides through for England, he gets the ball to Ryan Hall but the winger flings it back on the inside to the opposition.
11 min: Menzies Yere breaks some tackles out wide and England now making more errors with PNG again on the attack.
13 min: England's Sean O'Loughlin just throws the ball forward over the sideline - they're panicing and trying to score off each play.
15 min: Big coathanger from Aizue on Sam Burgess, it looked spectacular but no harm done.
15 min: TRY
The Poms keep the ball alive close to the line before halfback Luke Robinson steps, ducks and weaves to sneak over. Ben Westwood fails to convert.
18 min: TRY
England go length of the field from the kick off! Graham looks set for a regulation hit up but fires a cut out ball out wide, it finds it's way out to Tony Clubb, who streaks away to score on debut. Westwood converts.
21 min: Oh England, after such a brilliant 100 metre try, James Roby boots it out on the full on the last.
23 min: England getting into their groove now though, trapping PNG fullback Ryan Tongia ingoal.
25 min: Kevin Brown puts on a stepping run but doesn't really get anywhere and is smashed for his troubles.
28 min: Papua New Guinea competing well, some more tough goalline defence holds out England. PNG can hold their own as long as they hold on to the ball..
30 min: Video referee - possible England try..
30 min: TRY
Centre Tony Clubb gets his second on debut out wide, Clubb was sandwiched between some flying PNG defenders but just managed to get the ball down. Gareth Widdop converts.
35 min: Kumuls backrower Rodney Griffin nearly breaks the line but it all comes undone on the next play when Moni keeps it alive but knocks on.
36 min: TRY
Luke Robinson takes on some lazy defence before swerving his way to the corner, Widdop fails to convert.
40 min: Sam Burgess has been left behind on his haunches clutching his shoulder.
40 min: TRY
Some quick passes see Tony Clubb crash over out wide for a first half hat-trick, easy stuff for England. Widdop fails to convert.
40 min: Halftime: England with too many offloads for a tiring Papaun team, the Kumuls competed for the first 20 minutes but have once again put themselves under too much pressure with errors.
41 min: Second half underway, and right on cue a dropped pass from PNG.
42 min: **Breaking News**
Brisbane Broncos have withdrawn from their 2-year contract with Greg Inglis.
Read more.. http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/showthread.php?t=372395&page=19
45 min: Menzies Yere takes a bustling run, hasn't he been a real discovery? Great to watch.
46 min: Luke Robinson leaves the field now for England, that's Burgess and Robinson on the sidelines now. Perhaps PNG's game plan is clear, bash the opposition until they have no fit players left.
49 min: Ben Harrison knocks on for England and PNG surge forward well, lead this time by Charlie Wabo.
52 min: Crowd starting to build now, as the sun dips behind the grandstand.
54 min: Video referee - possible England try..
54 min: TRY
England throw the ball from sideline to sideline before Ben Harrison decides to go straight and has too much strength. Westwood converts.
56 min: James Graham drops it but I can forgive him for that one, he's the most wholehearted English player out there.
57 min: PNG five-eighth Glen Nami puts on a step Brad Fittler would be proud of but is just dragged down short.
58 min: TRY
Papua New Guinea TRY
A short ball from dummy half sees Makali Aizue crash over under the posts! A simple try but definitely four points worth celebrating. Dion Aiye converts from right in front.
62 min: Sounding like a broken record at the moment but PNG spread it wide and yet again fumble, England on the attack 20 metres out.
65 min: Sam Tomkins steps and looks to be over but has the ball pickpocketed in the nick of time for the Kumuls.
66 min: TRY
Papua New Guinea TRY
A grubber on the last is regathered before skipper Paul Aiton flings it out to Emmanuel 'Menzies' Yere, who crashes over and slams the ball down. England going through their designated "clocking off" period. Aiye fails to convert.
69 min: Kumuls on the attack again as a PNG chant floats around Eden Park.
71 min: Papua New Guinea winning the second half 10-6..
73 min: England have been camped on the PNG line but still can't find a way through as Tom Briscoe is pushed over the sideline.
76 min: TRY
Tony Clubb gets his fourth try but he gets up inexplicably angry, accidently throws the ball very close to the referee and gets a boo from the pro-PNG crowd as well. Westwood converts.
79 min: Jessie Joe Parker with a nice take on the full at the back.
Fulltime: A strong first half has seen England account for PNG 36-10. The Kumuls fought hard in the second half which finished two tries a piece. Overall. across the tournament, PNG can hold their heads high but will be lamenting poor handling. England can take a touch of pride from this one but it was very disappointing campaign - they didn't get close to beating the Kiwis or Kangaroos.