Australia have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup after thrashing Italy 66-6 in St Helens, ultimately topping Group B with ease.
The Kangaroos have started the tournament in fine form, scoring almost 200 points in their first three games against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.
Mal Meninga’s side will the face runner-up of Group C in the quarter-finals at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield on Friday night. It will be against Lebanon if they beat Jamaica in Leigh on Sunday.
Italy’s defeat to Australia means they are now eliminated from the tournament. The Azzurri can take pride from their campaign, having beaten Scotland in their opener.
NRL superstar James Tedesco, who played for Italy in the last two World Cups, was the Australia captain for the match.
It was all Australia in the first half. Centre Valentine Holmes opened the scoring in the 6th minute before winger Murray Taulagi extended their lead just minutes later.
Tedesco scored against his nation of heritage in the 18th minute, with Nathan Cleary converting.
Campbell Graham, a debutant in last week’s win over Scotland, stretched Australia’s lead on the half hour mark with his fourth try of the tournament.
The Kangaroos posted further tries in the final 10 minutes of the first half through Latrell Mitchell and Taulagi.
HT: Australia 30-0 Italy
Meninga’s side started the second half as strong as they did in the first, with Isaah Yeo going over six minutes into the second half before Liam Martin made it 42-0.
The Italians did have something to cheer for though when Rinaldo Palumbo latched onto a grubber from Radean Robinson to score. Jack Campagnolo added the extras.
But Australia soon hit back thanks to Cameron Murray.
Campbell Graham, who was preparing to represent his Scottish heritage just a couple of months ago, got his second in the 68th minute.
Jeremiah Nanai and Lindsay Collins scored in the final 10 minutes to secure an impressive 66-6 victory for Australia.
Australia: Tedesco; Graham, Holmes, Mitchell, Taulagi; Cherry-Evans, Cleary; Collins, Hunt, Cotter, Martin, Nanai, Murray. Subs: Yeo, Fa’asuamaleaui, Campbell-Gillard, Burton. 18th man: Wighton.
Tries: Holmes, Taulagi (2), Tedesco, Graham (2), Mitchell, Yeo, Martin, Murray, Nanai, Collins Goals: Cleary 9
Italy: Polselli; Pickering, Atkinson, Natoli, Maizen; Campagnolo, Robinson; Susino, Parata, Iaria, Moretti, Santi, Brown. Subs: Tramontana, Palumbo, Colovatti, Celerino. 18th man: Hodge.
Tries: Palumbo Goals: Campagnolo 1