RLWC2017 Quarter Final 1 – Australia v Samoa – Match Review + More

The first 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final is on this Friday for Australia v Samoa as we have our preview of the big game.

rlwc australia v samoa

Australia v Samoa saw the host nation cruise their way to the semi finals at the expense of a Samoan team who exit the 2017 Rugby League World Cup without winning a game despite making the quarter finals. Australia will be pleased with the result thanks to five tries to Valentine Holmes, but still have room for improvement. A worry given they’ve just won a quarter final by 46 points.

We’re covering the game with the Who, What, Where, When and How of the first Quarter Final of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup is a big deal for us, being huge rugby league fans and love a minnow or two, and we’ll be covering all of the games throughout. So visit our 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP MATCH CENTRE

Now onto the Australia v Samoa game.



RESULT – Who Won?

Tries: V. Holmes (9), V. Holmes (17), B. Slater (24), M. Morgan (31), M. Morgan (36), V. Holmes (51), V. Holmes (57), V. Holmes (74)
Goals: C. Smith 7 Conv



How Did They Win?

Australia were dominant as expected, however Samoa’s pre match challenge was their peak of the danger to the Kangaroos for the rest of the evening. Once again Australia were very good in patches, but scarily for their opposition still have some room for improvement.

Five tries to a single player – Valentine Holmes – will always help too.

The first of those five came in the 9th minute after Holmes received the knock down from Dugan after a usual pin point Cooper Cronk kick. Holmes had only a minute before performed some great athletic moves to keep a deflected ball from going into touch which was ruled out incorrectly by the sideline official. Thankfully for Australia, Samoa knocked on first play and a minute later the Kangaroos had their justice.

Holmes was in again soon after some Slater magic as he made it out of the in goal somehow and found Holmes who found Cronk, and conveniently found Holmes again in a length of the field storming left side move. Billy grabbed one for himself not long after after a great outside inside move from Cronk and Matt Gillett. That was 18-0 and there was still a Michael Morgan 1st half double to come. The first was way too easy after some stop-start dancing from Billy Slater ended in a dancing Mcihael Morgan strolling over to score. Morgan’s second came from the perfect Cameron Smith grubber, although he may not have been first on the ball as Cooper Cronk was taken out in the chase.

That was 30-0 at half time. And game over effectively and realistically.

The second half wasn’t quite as slick, except for the involvement of Valentine Holmes who added three tries to his two first half four pointers and scored all of the tries for Australia. Two in six minutes started got Holmes to four tries for the night by the 57th minutes, and he sealed a World Cup record breaking fifth with a nice play involving David Klemmer throwing a pass to Holmes rather than the standard hit up from a drop out.

Samoa kept trying and came close in the last few minutes to scoring, but Australia held firm and remain the tightest defence of this year’s Rugby League World Cup.


What did we learn?

Australia are very, very good. And that it wasn’t just the tried and tested who led Australia to victory. Valentine Holmes takes a lot of the headlines, but recent Kangaroos additions like Michael Morgan, Jordan McLean, Reagan Cambell-Gillard and Dane Gagai were all great and have been all tournament giving plenty of hope for continued success for the Kangaroos.

In saying that, Billy Slater is still top notch and who could argue against him wanting to play more rep footy next season.

Samoa not winning a game and making the quarter final probably needs looking at for next Rugby League World Cup. Perhaps expansion to 16 teams and top two from four pools making the eight is more appropriate.

The two most disappointing Samoa players in this Rugby League World Cup have been Canberra duo Joey Leilua and Josh Papalii. They can offer so much at their best, but that level hasn’t been seen for Samoa this tournament.


What was the Moment of the Match?

With the match looking like only one result for a good portion of the game, the moment of the match turns to personal achievement rather than game changer. So our moment of the game was the neat play from David Klemmer, who instead of doing the usual trucking up after a drop out found Valentine Holmes with a great pass who went on to score his historic fifth try. Great moment for Holmes, but also worth thinking about the fact that doing something a bit different from kick offs / drop outs should be considered as the NRL get way too predictable. And it doesn’t look likely that the Walker brothers will get an NRL gig anytime soon.

Any other bits and pieces?

  • The five tries to Valentine Holmes is a World Cup record. Wade Graham recently equaled the record against France with four.
  • Australia scored eight tries but hd just the three try scorers with Michale Morgan grabbing a double.
  • The World Cup organisers can consider themselves justified for playing the game in Darwin. Sell out and good atmosphere.
  • Still think the NRL would be better if every team had a cultural challenge before the game.



We’ve decided that a tournament as big as the 2017 Rugby League World Cup needs a Player of the tournament, and who better than International relations specialists Kevin Tamati and Greg Dowling to name our award.

We award points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale every match, and the results for this game is below. For the running total from all of the games visit our 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP MATCH CENTRE

5 POINTS – VALENTINE HOLMES – Five tries and so much more more with loads of metres burned up too.

4 POINTS – BILLY SLATER – Signed up for more rep football next year, and given this year’s Tour de Force it is good news for everyone except NSW. He was great again at the back.

3 POINTS – MICHAEL MORGAN – justified selection despite Cameron Munster’s claim for the 6 jersey, and his slightly underwhelming display thus far before tonight.

1 POINT – Reagan Cambell-Gillard – super off the bench, a real bright prospect for the future.

1 POINT – Jordan McLean – same as above in so many ways. Future is bright.

1 POINT – Josh Maguire – the best of the back row on a good night for the Australians




Where and When: LIVE Friday 17th Nov – Darwin
When is it on TV? Channel 7 @ 7pm


What’s the Story?

Australia topped Pool A and did it with relative ease, but without looking especially wonderful. Once they eventually saw off England in the tough first game of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, they had a golden run against two beatable minnows and plenty of opportunity to give everyone a go. They did that, and with everyone including Ben Hunt getting a go it is now time to put the best side out and start thinking about winning the tournament.

The major selection headache going into Friday’s clash has now been answered with Michael Morgan getting the 5/8 nod ahead of Cameron Munster and James Maloney. Munster can count himself as a little unlucky to miss out, having looked the best of the options so far in the Rugby League World Cup for Australia.

A spanner has been thrown in the works for the knockout stages after last weekend’s games as Tonga beating the Kiwis means that Australia will face their main Trans Tasman rival in the Semi Finals instead of the Grand Final. That means there’s no time to waste this weekend and get into their best possible form for the Semi Final test against New Zealand, if the Kiwis can beat Fiji.

Samoa arrive into the knockout stages having not won a single game of their three Pool B matches. Their best result was a 14-14 draw with Scotland last weekend after defeats to New Zealand and Tonga. Some say they are lucky to have made it this far, and this weekend will probably see their participation end. But Australia should be wary of the Samoans saving their very best for last.



Who Will Win and Why?

Australia should win and win well. A rugby league giant facing off against a second tier team that hasn’t won a game so far in this year’s tournament.

The Storm combination of Slater-Cronk-Smith will be an axis of power that should be enough alone, and given the year of success they’ve enjoyed, they will be hungrier than ever to taste Rugby League World Cup success.

It’s not that Samoa are short of quality players, and indeed quality NRL standard players, it is that Australia has a side full of them, and can afford to leave Cameron Munster on the sidelines.

Australia by 38


Who to watch for?

Billy Slater. An obvious one, but he was Australia’s best against England, and Austraia don’t quite look the same without him at the back.

Michael Morgan. Chosen for the all important five eighth position, the most competitive position in the team. Has been a little quiet in this Rugby League World Cup, and now has the time to shine.

Josh Papalii and Frank Pritchard. If Samoa are any chance of a big upset, they need super games from these two big units. Both have played OK thus far, but could do with an international career defining moment to lead their country to the second big upset so far.



Who’s in the Teams?


Billy Slater, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Michael Morgan, Cooper Cronk, Aaron Woods, Cameron Smith, David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire Interchange: Wade Graham, Jordan McLean, Reagan Cambell-Gillard, Tyson Frizell Reserves: Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster, James Maloney, Ben Hunt


  1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Matthew Wright 3. Ricky Leutele 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Timoteo Lafai 6. Jarome Luai 7. Ben Roberts 8. Junior Paulo 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Herman Essese 11. Joshua Papalii 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Leeson Ah Mau 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Suaia Matagi 17. Joseph Paulo 18. Zane Musgrove 19. Frank Winterstein 20. Pita Godinet 21. Ken Maumalo



Coming soon.



We’ve decided that a tournament as big as the 2017 Rugby League World Cup needs a Player of the tournament, and who better than International relations specialists Kevin Tamati and Greg Dowling to name our award.

We award points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale every match, and the results for this game is below. For the running total from all of the games visit our 2017 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP MATCH CENTRE

Points coming after the match.



About Max Layne 282 Articles
Max has no time for long bios, he has only time for sport and then more sport. Each week he tries to sum up what sport has tickled the collective fancy of The Gurgler.

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