Rugby League: England Academy given a ‘lesson in clincal finishing’ by Aussies

Leeds Rhinos' England Academy tourists Mikolaj Oledzki and Cameron Smith.
Leeds Rhinos' England Academy tourists Mikolaj Oledzki and Cameron Smith.
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England Academy were given a lesson in clinical finishing according to coach Andy Kelly after the tourists went down 50-26 in the first Test in Queensland.

England made a bright enough start on the back of good early defensive work, and Joe Wardill made a break and beat the full-back to touchdown. Rob Fairclough converted.

Australia scored on the back of an England penalty, then made it 12-4 with a second, converted try.

Matty English forced his way over to cut the gap to just two points, but three tries in six minutes before half-time put Australia firmly in control.

Trailing 28-10 at the interval, England came out for the second half and Danny Walker scooted in for a converted try that offered a modicum of hope for the travelling teens. But Australia rattled off 22 points in rapid-fire succession and at 50-16 the game was won.

England had the final say, Liam Paisley crossing, and Lewis Heckford stepping through from close range. Morgan Smith wrapped up the scoring with the conversion.

“We got a lesson in clinical finishing,” said Kelly afterwards. “When we made errors and gave penalties away, the Australian side punished us.

“We lost Rob Fairclough early in the game, and one of our middles, so our rotation off the bench wasn’t great and didn’t give us a lot of options.

“But it’s Test Match football and you’ve still got to front up.”

He added: “I just don’t think, across the park, we held our strength long enough to withstand what the Australians were doing. We’re all going to have to work harder.

“They’re a good side but we’ve seen them and their structures, so we’ll know a little bit more going into the next game.”

England: Lewis Heckford; Liam Paisley, Liam Walsh, Joe Wardill, Matthew Costello; Morgan Smith, Rob Fairclough; Matthew English, Josh Ganson (capt), Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos), James Bachelor, Cameron Smith (Leeds Rhinos), Jack Wells. Interchange: Danny Walker, Brad Walker, Conor Fitzsimmons (Castleford Tigers), Caine Barnes.

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