Having been competitive in both games so far, Samoa would have been confident of a shock result, but a combination of poor discipline and the quality of their opposition led to a one-sided affair.
The loss of Beau Scott due to injury forced Sam Thaiday to move to his usual second-row position, with Josh Papalii earning the Australian number 10 jersey. Elsewhere Canterbury Bulldogs forward Josh Jackson made his test debut from the bench.
Samoa coach Matt Parish promoted St Helens forward Mose Masoe to the starting line-up with Pita Godinet dropping to the bench. Reni Maitua also returned on the bench following an internal suspension and made his first appearance in this year’s tournament.
The Kangaroos didn’t waste any time in extended that lead as they superbly kept the ball alive on the last tackle with Sam Thaiday finding Greg Inglis with an over the top pass to score. Australia 10-0 up after only 10 minutes.
After sustaining more Australian pressure Samoa worked their way up the field and scored their first try of the match in the 20th minute. Full-Back Tim Simona handed off Cameron Smith and weaved under Aaron Woods to score between the posts.
Tim Sheens’ men didn’t let that effect them as five minutes later a short ball from Cooper Cronk found Inglis who grabbed his second try following a superb right foot step which deceived the defence.
The green and gold’s then opened up the biggest margin of the match on the half hour as scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans dummied his way through a hole before running 65 metres to score in the corner.
There was no let up to scoring from the hosts as following another penalty, interchange forward David Klemmer latched on to a flat pass from Smith to score his first international test try from close range.
Samoa’s poor discipline made life easy for their opponents in the first half consistently allowing them easy metres up the field as the Kangaroos went into half-time with a comfortable 28-6 lead.
It took the home side until the 62nd minute to register their next points of the game as more great work from Inglis on the short side put Cronk through a gap for his second try, 32-12 to Australia.
The spirit of the Samoan team will be remembered in this tournament and they deservedly scored their third try of the game as skipper David Fa’alogo crashed over from a metre out.
It was the Kangaroos who had the last laugh though as first Josh Papalii used sheer strength to score, and then Josh Mansour took advantage of a big gap in the tiring Samoan defence to touch down in the corner.
The final scoreline of 44-18 was perhaps slightly harsh on Samoa but Tim Sheens’ side were clinical and efficient as they progressed through to their fourth consecutive Four Nations Final.
Australia: Inglis, Mansour, Jennings, Walker, Mata’utia, Cherry-Evans, Cronk, Woods, Smith (c), Papalii, Thaiday, Bird, Parker. Interchange: Cordner, Hunt, Klemmer, Jackson.
Samoa: Simona, Winterstein, Lafai, Leilua, Vidot, Roberts, Stanley, I. Liu, McGuire, Fa’alogo (c), Pritchard, Ah Mau, Masoe. Interchange: Godinet, D. Lui, Maitua, Sue.