England led 10-0 inside 20 minutes, and it took 27 minutes for the Kangaroos to register their first points, when Greg Inglis jumped to claim Cooper Cronk‘s kick and feed Johnathan Thurston for a try.
That triggered a 20 minute blitz either side of half-time that ultimately won the game for Australia, with the game finishing 28-20 in their favour.
Smith said: “It was very physical but we didn’t think it was going to be any different. We knew the English would be well prepared.
“We were a little bit slow out of blocks, I think there were a few cobwebs hanging around due to the lack of game time we’ve had over the last four or five weeks. I’m very pleased with the effort. The English team were very well prepared, they started on fire but I was happy with the composure of the boys. To be able to fight their way back into the game was superb.
“Given that the team hadn’t played together at all coming into their first game we knew we needed a lot of composure. Things were going to go wrong at times but we finished strongly.
“The last 20 minutes of the first half was great and that was what got us back into the match and we’re very thankful to get our first win.”
Smith’s 40-20 attempt at the start of the second half forced an error from England winger Josh Charnley, and from the scrum, Brett Morris crossed in the opposite corner which helped Australia open up a 22-10 lead that England just couldn’t recover from.
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