Australia v Scotland Key Points and Highlights
Despite fielding five Test debutants, the Kangaroos still had no qualms racking up a big 54-12 win over Scotland in the Four Nations tournament opener at Hull's KC Lightstream Stadium.
Moylan chief destroyer for Kangaroos
The Panthers skipper is little chance of retaining the No.1 jumper for the remainder of the tournament considering Darius Boyd's standing in the side, but nobody could deny Matt Moylan's man-of-the-match effort. On debut, Moylan produced four first-half try assists and wouldn't look out of place in future games if injuries were to strike. Moylan signalled his intent within the first five minutes by putting Blake Ferguson over the white stripe. Ringing into backline movements with ease, Moylan's combination with club teammate Josh Mansour was on show when he put him over in the corner twice in the back end of the first 40. If anything, Moylan offered Australia coach Mal Meninga food for thought when it comes to the bench utility role considering Michael Morgan was relatively quiet.
Resilient Bravehearts never surrendered
Sometimes a score line doesn't reflects the game that was and that was certainly the case for Scotland in their first Four Nations outing. Nervous start aside – where they conceded four tries in the first 14 minutes – the Bravehearts finally lived up to their name midway through the first half. When Scotland hooker Liam Hood rocked Moylan with a bone-crunching tackle in the 21st minute it proved the Bravehearts could match their more-fancied opponents in the physicality stakes. Halfback Ryan Brierley's try just before half-time was a due reward for Scotland. Scoring again through Ben Cavanagh in the 58th minute, the Bravehearts went tit-for-tat with the Kangaroos for the most part in the second 40. While Australia would run away with it in the final 15 minutes, Scotland certainly showed they belonged in one of rugby league's elite international tournaments.
Dugan, Douglas fail to finish
While Meninga had the luxury of resting Greg Inglis for the Kangaroos' 42-point win, he could've done without Josh Dugan's severe-looking concussion. Dugan's immediate playing future was thrown into disarray in the 53rd minute when he clashed heads with Scotland front-rower Luke Douglas. To ensure he'd catch an ordinary pass from Morgan, Dugan went to ground and despite his best efforts to return to his feet was met by the charging St Helens-bound prop. Douglas also needed assistance from the field and could potentially prove a bigger blow for the Bravehearts who already possess limited NRL experience.
Cronk, Maloney combine for first time in seven years
Very few people would remember that three of James Maloney's first four NRL games were alongside Cooper Cronk at the Melbourne Storm back in 2009. Very few would've envisioned they would help spearhead Australia's attack on the international stage seven years later. Maloney made a good account of himself on debut for the Kangaroos. The 30-year-old chimed in for two try assists in the second half after scoring one himself in the 13th minute (18 points overall). Cronk provided another typical display by scoring twice and helping Dugan along for his long-range effort just after half-time.
Smith edges closer to another historic achievement
The Australian skipper may have only featured in the first half but his influence over the Kangaroos never wavered. Smith reportedly refused to sit out Australia's first game of the Four Nations as his 30th-straight Test match beckoned. Only immortal Clive Churchill (35-straight Tests) and St George legend Ken Kearney (31) can lay claim to besting Smith's remarkable feat. While Smith's exit after half-time allowed Sydney Roosters skipper Jake Friend to make his debut, his absence was definitely felt. Despite leading 30-6 at half-time, the Kangaroos never really kicked into gear again until the final 15 minutes of play.