After its postponement last season, the 2021 Rugby League World Cup got underway with hosts England taking on Samoa.
In the end, England put Samoa to the sword with an impressive display.
Many local fans were unsure as to how England would go and the odds leaned in Samoa’s favour based on their strong side.
With a vocal St James’ Park crowd behind them, England would score first via a penalty goal from Tommy Makinson.
The first try for England came soon after with George Williams busting through and finding Jack Welsby on his inside. Makinson’s conversion would make it 8-0.
Welsby then turned provider with a beautiful cut out pass for Newcastle Knights winger Dom Young who coasted to score. Another successful conversion and it was 14-0 to England.
Welsby would combine with Young a second time, this one closer to the line as the cut out ball saw the winger stroll over.
Welsby tried a third cut out pass but this one was read well by Izack Tago who intercepted and ran away to score.
That was just about the only highlight for Samoa and it went from bad to worse when Anthony Milford was sin binned for a late, high tackle.
Makinson’s penalty goal put England up 26-6.
With the extra man, England capitalised and it was Herbie Farnworth who bustled his way over.
The onslaught continued as veteran Canberra Raiders back rower Elliott Whitehead powered over from close range.
Whitehead then nabbed a second try when he backed up on the inside of Makinson who made the initial break.
Williams then grubbered ahead and found Makinson for his first try.
The final try came from Tom Burgess who powered over as the final score finished at 60-6 in England’s favour.
Samoa’s loss was compounded by the loss of Braden Hamlin-Uele with a possible leg fracture, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow with a syndesmosis injury and Tyrone May with a dislocated hip.
Shaun Wane praised his English side for overcoming the negativity pre-game.
“I know nobody gave us a chance to win the game but within our group the tight team spirit we have and how we’ve trained, we knew what we could do,” Wane said.
Samoa coach Matt Parish admits that England had all momentum and that his side struggled with the injuries.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted. England played very well and we had a few injuries and setbacks. They got a lot of momentum,” Parish said.
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Victor Radley (ENG)
2. George Williams (ENG)
1. Tommy Makinson (ENG)