Wow. What a bruiser that was.
I’m still catching my breath now after just watching, as Australia edged England to win the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
A mere 6-0 scoreline can’t possibly tell the story to do justice to one of the most brutal and tense games of rugby I can remember seeing.
But in the end it was yet again agony for us long-suffering English RL fans as the Aussies took the trophy as a 15th minute Boyd Cordner try ultimately made the difference as England’s heroic efforts fell short.
We threw everything at them and for the first time in a while against the Kangaroos looked the stronger team going into the late stages.
In the humid Brisbane heat, the Aussies looked out on their feet, happy to protect a 6-0 lead as England kept hammering at the Aussie line trying desperately to find a way over.
But that chink in the Green & Gold armour was never found as England were again heartbreakingly left to ponder what might have been.
As so often in Test matches, the little crucial moments seem to go against us.
What if Kallum Watkins had released the ball earlier to McGillvary when we had the overlap in the first half? What if Watkins hadn’t had his ankle tapped by a last-ditch effort? What if we had a left-side attack as half as effective as the right? (Bateman at centre I’ll never understand, Wayne).
But, despite me left wondering if the glorious day I do see us win a major tournament against Australia will ever come, at least it provided a fitting end to a memorable tournament.
International rugby league has received a huge boost for its future. And, hopefully, despite the agony, so have England.
A home series against New Zealand awaits next year followed by the return of Great Britain on tour Down Under in 2019. I already can’t wait.