Following a comprehensive win for the Women over Canada in their group match it was the turn of the men to impress on the great surface at the DW Stadium as they took on Papua New Guinea in their quarter final match with the prize on offer a semi-final against either Tonga or Samoa.
It was Papua New Guinea´s fifth game against England with them having lost on every previous occasion, PNG did however beat a Great Britain Lions side in 2019 when they met them in Port Moresby in a tour match.
England were big favourites for the win, The Kumuls getting a twenty-four-point lead on the coupon, but Shaun Wane wasn´t taking the challenge lightly. An England loss was surely unthinkable.
Herbie Farnworth went close on five minutes, hauled down by his shirt collar but ono the next play-the-ball Tom Burgess pushed his way over the line to score under the crossbar to give England the lead. Tommy Makinson made no mistake with the easiest possible conversion.
Three minutes later England were in again. A delightful pinpoint grubber to the corner from Sam Tomkins was picked up and grounded by Makinson. The winger couldn´t add the extras from wide but it was still a dream start for England.
Dom Young was into the action on fourteen as he took full advantage of the PNG defence failing to slide as England moved the ball fast to the right, the free scoring winger taking England out to a fourteen-point lead. Makinson was just wide with the conversion attempt.
It was all way too easy for England. From the kick-off they returned the ball again with Makinson rising to catch a George Williams high kick to the corner and dropping over the line. Makinson drilled the conversion between the sticks. England scoring at more than a point a minute.
Williams and Kallum Watkins exchanged passes after an initial John Bateman break, again on the kick-off return, for Williams to slide over on his back under the tackle but managed to force the ball onto the ground. Makinson was again on target for 26-0.
It was turning into a training run on twenty-three. A long bounce pass to Young saw him break the line before passing inside to Kallum Watkins for the experienced centre to dive over the line. Makinson landed his fourth kick of the afternoon.
On twenty-six England used a captain’s challenge to great effect after Alex Johnston failed to collect a high kick in his own goal area, dropping the ball forward under the challenge of Jack Welsby, Makinson the man on the spot to dot down. Makinson added another goal, PNG looking totally shell-shocked.
PNG managed to prevent England scoring for a thirteen-minute period at the end of the half, but they were totally dominant with a 38-0 half time lead.
After scoring thirty-eight points in the opening twenty-six minutes, England could add no more in the next thirty-one as they somewhat lost their way.
On fifty-seven Makinson got his fourth of the game as England finally found the overlap down the left when Mike McMeeken shrugged free of a tackle to put the pass in. Makinson was unable to add the conversion, but his side were 42-0 ahead with just over twenty minutes remaining.
PNG avoided a big zero when Jimmy Ngutlik raced to ground a Johnston grubber to the corner, grounding one handed at pace. Rhyse Martin added the touchline conversion, PNG leading the second half.
Tommy Makinson became the first ever England player to score five tries in game when he went over on the left corner on seventy-five off a bullet pass from Williams. Makinson´s conversion came back off the post, England with a 46-6 win.
England simply got on an unstoppable roll in the first half and put in one of the most scintillating half an hours’ worth of rugby league that you are likely to see at any level. They demolished The Kumuls who had no answer to the speed and expansive passing as England rattled in seven unanswered tries and with PNG barely getting a touch of the ball. England are comfortably into the semi-finals and will take a lot of confidence from their first half performance, even if Sean Wane is disappointed in the second.
England: Tomkins, Young (T), Watkins (T), Farnworth, Makinson (5T, 5G), Welsby, Williams (T), Burgess (T), McIlorum, Hill, Whitehead, Bateman, Radley. Subs: Lees, Knowles, Cooper, McMeeken.
Papua New Guinea: Johnston, Tai, MacDonald, Olam, Ngutlik (T), Laybutt, Lam, Albert, Lam, Ipape, Namo, Putt, Martin (G), Alick. Subs: Boas, Russell, Yei, Simbiken.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 14-0, 18-0, 20-0, 24-0, 26-0, 30-0, 32-0, 36-0, 38-0 : HT : 42-0, 42-4, 42-6, 46-6 : FT .
Lead Exchanges: England.
Referee: Liam Moore.
Attendance: 23,179 at DW Stadium, Wigan.