Week Two of the Rugby League World Cup again saw NSW-eligible players command attention, as they did in the tournament’s opening weekend.
Incumbent Blues backrower Wade Graham joined an elite list of players to have scored four tries in a World Cup fixture, the 29-year-old running in a first-half hat-trick before rounding out his scoring in the 65th minute.
Andrew Fifita laid the platform in Tonga’s 32-18 win over Samoa, running for 178 metres from his 15 carries. Not shying away from his work in defence, Fifita completed 22 tackles, looking solid at every time of asking.
Tongan teammate and 18-time NSW Blues representative Michael Jennings ran in the first try of the match – as he did in the side’s Week One win over Scotland – before completing his double in the 29th minute.
Jennings’ efforts backed up his hat-trick in Week one, with the 29-year-old now leading the competition’s try-scoring tally, with five to his name.
Jarryd Hayne was again at his unstoppable best against Wales, playing a hand in three of Fiji’s 14 tries before scoring one of his own, in the Bati’s 72-6 thumping.
Hayne’s try sent him one four-pointer clear of Kangaroos fullback Billy Slater, who also scored a try in Australia’s win over France in Canberra.
Rest assured, the incumbent Origin stars will remain neck-and-neck, vying to make their record their own as the tournament edges closer towards conclusion.
Former NSW winger Akuila Uate was also incredibly dominant for Fiji, setting up one of the tries of the tournament when he broke through and beat several defenders before Marcelo Montoya finished the job to score.
Also in Townsville, James Tedesco enjoyed a fantastic day out for Italy against the United States of America with two tries.
Penrith Panthers Premiership-winning Intrust Super Premiership player Mason Cerruto covered for Tedesco at fullback, doing a fantastic job with a long-range try, while Blues hopeful Paul Vaughan stepped up with a 159-metre and 12 tackle effort.
RLWC Week 2 Results:
Australia 52 (W Graham 4, C Munster 2, J Dugan, T Frizell, B Slater, V Holmes tries; C Smith 6 goals) def France 6 (M Kheirallah try, R Marginet goal) at Canberra Stadium. Half-time: Australia 20 led France 6. Crowd: 12,293
New Zealand Kiwis 74 (T Martin 3, P Hiku 3, J Nightingale 2, D Whare, S Johnson, E Taylor, K Bromwich, J Tapine, R Packer tries; Johnson 9 goals) def Scotland 6 (O Thomas try; D Addy goal) at Christchurch Stadium. Half-time: New Zealand 28 led Scotland 0. Crowd: 12,130
Tonga 32 (M Jennings 2, P Terepo, B Murdoch-Masila, M Ma'u tries; S Taukeiaho 4 goals, A Hingano 2 goals) def Samoa 18 (J Tevaga, B Roberts, T Lafai tries; Lafai 3 goals) at Waikato Stadium. Half-time: Tonga 14 led Samoa 6.
England 29 (K Watkins, J McGillvary, R Hall, B Currie, T Burgess tries; G Widdop 4 goals; Widdop field goal) def Lebanon 10 (N Kassis, J Wehbe tries; M Moses 1 goal) at Sydney Football Stadium. Half-time: England 22 led Lebanon 6. Crowd: 10,237.
PNG Kumuls 14 (N Macdonald, G Lo, W. Boas tries; A. Boas goal) def Ireland 6 (M McIlorum try; L Finn goal) at Oil Search National Football Stadium. Half-time: PNG 8 led Ireland 6. Crowd: 14,800
Italy 46 (J Tramontana 2, J Tedesco 2, J Mantellato, P Vaughan, M Cerruto tries; Mantellato 5 goals) def USA 0 at Townsville Stadium. Half-time: Italy 28 led USA 0. Crowd: 7,732.
Fiji 72 (S Vunivali 3, V Kikau 2, T Milne 2, E Vunakece, H Raiwalui, S Faingaa, M Montoya, J Hayne, J Lovodua, B Nakabuwai tries; A Koroisau 4, Milne 3, Vunivalu 1 goals) def Wales 6 (M Knowles try; C Davies goal) at Townsville Stadium. Half-time: Fiji 42 led Wales 6. Crowd: 7,732.