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Kangaroos flex their muscle to slide past Samoa in opener

The Gallagher Kangaroos produced a withering four-try burst in the opening 15 minutes to set up a 38-12 win over Toa Samoa in Townsville on Saturday night.

With player of the match Payne Haas and fellow big man Tino Fa'asuamaleaui leading the charge the Kangaroos blew the game open before their rivals had time to settle.

The world champions opened their account in the fifth minute when Haas took a short ball from Isaah Yeo and carried three defenders over the tryline with him to make it 6-0.

Four minutes later it was skipper James Tedesco leaving Izack Tago in his wake on the left edge before Fa'asuamaleaui powered over in the 13th minute and the Kangaroos had a 16-0 lead.

Cameron Murray was next to score for Australia after some brilliant lead-up by Haas, Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster before Samoa worked their way into the contest and scored through Murray Taulagi to make it 22-6.

A mistake by Dylan Edwards close to the Kangaroos tryline gave Samoa a chance to grab a second but a poor pass by Daejarn Asi saw the opportunity go begging.

Payne Haas Try

In the shadows of half-time the Kangaroos came up with a long-range special after a Daly Cherry-Evans short dropout was tapped down by Tago and landed in the hands of Harry Grant.

The hooker looked for support and found Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on his shoulder, the Test debutant racing 80 metres to score Australia's fifth try.

Ten minutes into the second half Samoa looked to have answered with a magical try of their own when young gun Sualauvi Faalogo chipped and regathered to dot down next to the posts but replays showed a lost ball by Keenan Palasia in the lead-up.

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui Try

Some slick passing from Grant, Tedesco and Murray then gave Tabuai-Fidow the chance to plunge over for his second try and the dashing Dolphin managed to get the ball down despite the attention of three defenders.

Trailing 32-6 Samoa hung tough and were rewarded with a try to Luciano Leilua in the 72nd minute after Taulagi had done brilliantly to evade Kotoni Staggs, Cherry-Evans and Liam Martin before turning the ball inside to his winger.

A dropped ball by Brian To'o gave the Kangaroos a shot at a late try and Staggs was the man to score it after a pinpoint grubber by Cherry-Evans. The Broncos star converted his own try for a final scoreline of 38-12.

The Kangaroos have now won all 11 Test matches played in Australia since Mal Meninga took the helm and will set their sights on making that 12 against arch-rivals New Zealand in a fortnight.

Match Snapshot 

  • Daly Cherry-Evans became the Kangaroos' oldest halfback in Test history at 34 years and 236 days. 
  • Cameron Murray became the third forward in Kangaroos history to score in five consecutive Test matches after Ron Coote (six in 1968-69) and Steve Menzies (five in 1995).
  • Kangaroos starting props Payne Haas and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui left the field after 27 minutes with 221 run metres between them.
  • Samoa fullback Sualauvi Faalogo produced a fine Test debut with 17 runs for 164 metres and 11 tackle breaks.

Murray Taulagi Try

  • Kangaroos fullback James Tedesco had eight tackle breaks and ran for 157 metres.
  • The Kangaroos came up with eight line breaks compared to two by Samoa.
  • Terrell May and Keenan Palasia racked up 243 run metres between them as they took the game up to the much vaunted Kangaroos pack.
  • The Kangaroos have now won all five clashes against Samoa in Test football.

Cameron Murray Try

Play of the Game

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has made a habit of scoring spectacular tries during his 70-game NRL career and he brought that flair to Townsville to take the Kangaroos to a 22-point lead at half-time. The Hammer took a pass from Harry Grant on Australia's 20-metre line and slipped into overdrive, showcasing his swerve and a fend as he raced away for a try on Test match debut.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow Try

What They Said

"I think Hamiso and Kotoni were really good in the centres [on debut]. They took advantage of opportunities. We saw Hammer in space with the footy and it's 'see you later'. He's an excitement machine, he's good for our game. Kotoni had a great debut as well. I thought Dylan [Edwards] and Selwyn [Cobbo] handled the occasion really well. Our week together was really good but we can only improve from now on. There's a few bumps and bruises from a long year so hopefully they'll feel fit and healthy and come back into camp next weekend." - Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga

Kangaroos: Week 1

"There were some really good individual performances. I thought young Sua [Faalogo] at fullback, that was one of the real highlights of the game. Young Gordon [Chan Kum Tong] at hooker as well. We had nine debutants tonight and those guys stood up for us which was awesome, and that's really good for us moving forward. The start of the game was really fast and maybe we didn't go with that speed at the start but as we were able to get into the rhythm of the game and actually hang onto the ball I thought we gave ourselves a chance to be able to get back into the game." - Samoa coach Ben Gardiner 

Toa Samoa: Week 1

What's Next 

The Kangaroos take on the Kiwis in Melbourne in week three of the Pacific Championships. Toa Samoa head to Eden Park in Auckland in week two for a clash with New Zealand.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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