Addo-Carr goes wild as Kangaroos crush Cedars to reach semis in ‘worst performance of tournament’

HUDDERSFIELD – Fireworks were exploding above John Smith Stadium well before kick-off, but they were no match for those that went off on the pitch once the match started, Australia qualifying for the semi-finals thanks to a crushing 48-4 win over Lebanon.

Guy Fawkes night isn’t until tomorrow, but a guy called Foxx decided he should come early, with Josh Addo-Carr running in three tries before the 20-minute mark was up. He was left with five to take his tournament tally to 11, an undisputed leader for the World Cup with Dom Young set to feature for England tomorrow.

Things didn’t start well – Cleary sent his first kick on the full – but once the Kangaroos got going, they never stopped. Addo-Carr’s haul is the obvious title, but Cameron Munster did just about everything else.

He terrorized the Lebanese right edge in the first half, collecting three assists in the process, before switching to the back in the second after James Tedesco secured his third early mark in as many weeks.

That experiment was less successful, with Munster making an error from which Josh Mansour scored, but in his natural position the Melbourne man was the more dominant player on the pitch.

While the Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans debate dominated last month’s speech – the two were perfectly fine, by the way – the other major change, that of combining Val Holmes and Jack Wighton on one edge, carried its fruit.

While they weren’t as spectacular as Addo-Carr – who is? – they were both physically excellent, with Holmes enjoying the tougher runs that come with a wing pitch and Wighton spotting his opponents on defense several times.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Fox League analyst Corey Parker was unimpressed with Australia’s performance, calling it “their worst performance of the tournament”.

“Fourteen errors of the Australians. The cohesion, some of the ball movements we saw, some of the basic errors we saw just weren’t quite up to par for the Australians, especially when it looks like they will continue to play against the Kiwis next week.

Clunky was the word Greg Alexander used to describe their display.

“Their second half was as bad as they played. Some of the mistakes were basic, it kept the Lebanese team in the game,” he said.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Lebanon lacked a bit of the adventure that has been its calling card in this tournament. They attempted a short kickoff that nearly backfired on a Jack Wighton interception and sent another full, but beyond that the levels of invention were low.

Coach Michael Cheika made his mark in rugby league with shrewd tactical work, but his side never had a chance to implement his plans. Sometimes the chasm is too big. He hopes for better at Twickenham tomorrow, where he coaches Argentina against England in rugby union.

Although things didn’t start perfectly for Australia – Cleary sent his first spot kick on full – it didn’t take long for a pattern to set in. Holmes broke through early, and as he was pulled down, the Kangaroos created space from which Addo-Carr could dive.

Tedesco then split the Cedars, with the flying Foxx in support for his second, before a volley ball from Munster – despite the front Lebanon’s excellence in skill he remains master of it – provided the winger with a hat trick. Barely 18 minutes had been played.

There could have been a fourth, but Latrell Mitchell opted to crash into himself, followed by a quick brace from Cam Murray.

Lebanon fired late, Adam Doueihi smartly putting Charbel Tarsipale through a gap, but the Kangaroos jostling stopped him.

It continued after the break as Addo-Carr capitalized on a Josh Mansour error but this time Munster, now at the back, paid him back in kind by missing a Mitchell Moses kick for let the Source score.

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It was barely a blip. Addo-Carr got a fifth from another kick soon after and Liam Martin burst in from close range. Lebanon eventually attempted a bit of flair footing, with Moses trying to outsmart Munster, but nothing happened.

They retire with their heads held high and Australia ominously head into the semi-finals.

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