|Australia (18) 42|
|Attempts: Nanai, Addo-Carr 2, Crichton, Mitchell, Grant, Tedesco Goals: Holmes 7|
|Fiji (4) 8|
|Attempts: Valemei, Turuva|
Hosts Australia got the Rugby League World Cup off to the perfect start with a dominant win over Fiji.
Mel Meninga’s side scored seven tries in a merciless 42-8 win at Leeds.
Jeremiah Nanai, Josh Addo-Carr and Angus Crichton crossed to put the Kangaroos 18-6 ahead at the break after Semi Valemei had put Fiji ahead.
Australians Latrell Mitchell, Harry Grant, James Tedesco and Addo-Carr all went up in the second half before Fiji’s Sunia Turuva scored a consolation try.
Australia have won eight of the last nine World Cups and have always been heavy favorites to beat a Fijian side who lost 50-0 to England eight days ago.
After Nanai canceled out Valemei’s fourth-minute opener, Australia found their rhythm, opening an eight-point lead when Addo-Carr raced the length of the field to score a stunning try midway through the first half.
His effort opened the floodgates after good build-up play either side of half-time from Crichton and Mitchell.
Mitchell’s try gave Australia a 20-point lead with 30 minutes remaining and Fiji never looked like mounting an unlikely comeback as Australia continued to add scores.
Fiji host Italy in Newcastle on Saturday 22nd October in the next round, while Australia host Scotland in Coventry on Friday.
The North Queensland Cowboys will be without Reuben Cotter off the field early in the second half with concussion.
Australian coach Mel Meninga told BBC Two:
“I’m happy with that, I’m really happy with our defense. There’s a few things we need to fix with the ball, but it was a good effort overall.
“Our defensive effort and attitude was perfect. Everything we asked of our players was done well.
“We’ve got real competition in the squad. I’ll rest a few guys next week and hopefully we’ll grow as the tournament goes on.”