The Four Nations kicked off at the KC Lightstream Stadium in Hull where Australia started their campaign with a game against a Scotland. It was the first ever meeting between these two nations.
Five new caps for Australia as Mal Meninga decided to blood some of the younger members of his touring squad, making seven changes from the side who beat New Zealand a fortnight ago.
The bookies and the pundits didn't give the Bravehearts any kind of chance ahead of kick-off with Australia 1/100 on for the win and offering 50/1 on Scotland. It was just a case of how good a show Scotland would put on and how close they could keep to the Aussies.
After a good show in the opening exchanges the Aussies went over for the opener on four minutes when after a Danny Brough knock on in his own twenty. With the ball moved left Blake Ferguson found some spence to go ten metres and stretch over to ground. James Maloney failed to convert his own try from wide.
On eleven minutes a touch of class with a Cameron Smith reverse grubber being collected and grounded by Cooper Cronk without a Scotland defender anywhere near. This time Maloney added the extras for 10-0 and it was already looking very ominous for Scotland.
Within a minute and Australia went over again, this time under the sticks when a Matt Moyland pass found Maloney to go ten metres to score. He converted his own and the Aussies were scoring at more than a point a minute.
On fourteen Cooper Cronk got his second from thirty metres off a Tyson Frizell pass. It was a simple conversion for Maloney for 22-0 and the game was already over as a contest.
On twenty-three Josh Mansour was at the end of a long passing move to walk over on the overlap and slightly improve the angle but Maloney couldn't add the extra two points.
Six minutes from the interval and Mansour completed a sixty metre Australian team effort try to dive over in the corner off a Moylan pass. It was another difficult conversion chance for Maloney and again he failed from the touchline.
Two minutes from the interval and joy for Scotland when a Danny Brough kick through was grounded one-handed by Ryan Brierley. Brough added the conversion to send the sides into the break at 30-6.
Three minutes after the restart and Josh Dugan scored a forty metre solo effort throwing a dummy to an already tired Scotland defence to go under the posts. Maloney kicked the two from dead in front.
On the hour mark, a brilliant Brough intercept and run gave Scotland great field position but Australia got back to bring to foil the attack. Two plays later and Ben Kavanagh crashed over for Scotland second. Brough was accurate with the boot and the Bravehearts were into double figures.
The sixty-fifth minute saw the Aussies through the forty when Tyson Frizzell pushed off two tacklers to capitalise on a Scotland error. Maloney added the extras for 42-12. Scotland were in disarray two minutes later when Michael Morgan strolled over through a broken Scotland defence for an easy try. Maloney kicked the extra two.
The fifty was passed a minute from time when Merrin broke the Scotland line and found Trbojevic in support to go twenty for the tenth Australian try of the night. Maloney added the extras as the final hooter sounded for a 54-12 win and a great start to the Kangaroos Four Nations campaign.
The Aussies looked a little below par but showed moments of brilliance. They are likely to be a different prospect next week when they come up against New Zealand. The Scots never threw the towel in, but their defensive frailties cost them dearly and they got a clear indication of what they will need to do over the next fortnight.
Australia: Moylan, Mansour (2T), O'Neill, Dugan (T), Ferguson (T), Maloney (T, 7G), Cronk (2T), Woods, Smith, Klemmer, Thaiday, Frizell (T), Trbojevic (T). Subs: Friend, Boyd, Merrin, Morgan (T).
Scotland: Coote, Tierney, Aitken, Linnett, Russell, Brough (2G), Brierley (T), Walker, Hood, Douglas, Addy, Ferguson, Kavanagh (T). Subs: Hellewell, Powe-Hobbs, Brooks, McConnachie.
Referee: Ben Thaler.