Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The Kangaroos only just avoided one of the biggest upsets in rugby league history before scoring a 36-24 win over the USA Tomahawks at Franklin Field in Philadelphia today.
The game, which was played on astro-turf, under modified rules - including four 20 minute quarters - with a marching band in the stands and running commentary over the PA system.
For a time it threatened to produce the biggest upset in the game's history.
The Tomahawks settled best in familiar surroundings and scored the opening three tries of the match, racing to an 18-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter.
Australia finally hit back in the 35th minute when Matt Bowen got the first of his three tries but were on the back foot moments later when former Canberra player Brandon Costin, playing for the Tomahawks, kicked and regathered to make the score 24-6 at halftime.
The third quarter was all Australia, with Bowen getting his second, Shaun Berrigan crossing for his first and Matt Copper levelling the scores when he strolled over from a scrum win.
Then Willie Mason put his stamp on the match, standing at five-eighth at the scrum and carrying three US defenders over the line to put Australia in front for the first time in the match.
Lockyer converted and the world champions led 30-24.
Bowen then brought up his hat-trick when he backed up Andrew Ryan and raced 50 metres, Brett Kimmorley converting to make the lead 12 points.