Five things: The Impenetrables, best World Cup final try ever and not so Sonny

Neil Barraclough

One – All hail The Impenetrables

In 1982 Australia were nicknamed The Invincibles after going undefeated in a 22-match tour.

Thirty-one years later, Tim Sheens’ men should go down as The Impenetrables.

Their record of not conceding a try in five successive matches – or 404 minutes, going back to Josh Charnley’s late effort at Cardiff – is astounding.

It represents a side determined to vanquish all memories of 2008.

Not once against Fiji, Ireland, America, Fiji again or New Zealand did they lose concentration for just one tackle, which is all it takes for some cheeky half-back or nippy winger to leave you wondering what happened.

The current Kangaroos are a mob we should feel lucky to watch.

Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk – that’s six potential future contenders for Immortals status all playing in the same team.

You know you’ve a good bunch when talents like Jarryd Hayne are kept in the shadows.


Two – The best World Cup final try ever?

Has there been a better try in a World Cup final than Brett Morris’ first score?

Not for the Kangaroos’ ability to spot their extra numbers on the right edge, Josh Papalii’s offload, or Morris’ kick infield for Hayne, but the almost unbelievable skill of Hayne to palm the ball forward and then volley it onwards all without breaking stride.

Twice in eight days rugby league has conjured miracle scores. Dean Whare’s ridiculous pass at Wembley took some beating, but Hayne’s brilliance and Morris’ determination to chase it down might just edge it.

Nearly 75,000 people got very, very lucky yesterday.


Three – Thurston for Golden Boot?

Nearly two hours after full time and Billy Slater finally emerged from the Old Trafford dressing rooms.

First on the agenda was a tribute to man of the match Johnathan Thurston, who became the Kangaroos’ all-time leading points-scorer when he landed his fourth goal of the afternoon.

Slater said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked up the Golden Boot. He’s a tremendous player.

“He’s not a super fast guy or a super big guy, but he’s got a great football brain and makes the right decisions most of the time.”


Four – Not so Sonny in Manchester

Thurston’s glory meant disappointment for RLIF Player of the Year Sonny Bill Williams, the man chasing a dual-code World Cup double.

New Zealand‘s superstar struggled to impose himself and threw the intercept ball that led to Hayne racing away and feeding Morris for his second try eight minutes from time.

He didn’t win the World Cup, but Williams does the win the award for the simplest summary.

“I tried my arse off,” he said, “but it wasn’t meant to be.”


Five – A World Cup to remember

For 24 hours at least, let’s just reflect on the most successful World Cup in the history of the sport.

Sally Bolton deserves enormous credit for the organisation, planning and endless hours her and her team have put in from their Media City base.

Rugby league needs to find a way to build on the momentum and awareness the World Cup has created, starting with an immediate focus on the international game above all else.

But there are plenty of troubles still bubbling under the surface; London Broncos’ future and the Super League civil war will both now come back to the top of the agenda.

At least it will give us something to talk about…


Follow Neil Barraclough on Twitter @neilbarraclough

Five Things will return next year after a testing off-season of mince pies and crap TV.