A draw at London Stadium would have been enough for the hosts to earn a rematch with the Kangaroos at Anfield in seven days, but world champions Australia proved far too strong as they maintained their perfect record with a degree of comfort and will now face New Zealand in next weekend’s final.
Mal Meninga’s side led 10-6 following a penalty-laden first half and duly surged clear with three tries in quick succession after the interval.
That put the result beyond doubt and England appear to have plenty of work to do ahead of next year’s Rugby League World Cup, the much-hyped arrival of Wayne Bennett as head coach having failed to yield an immediate upturn in fortunes.
By contrast, Australia remain favourites to regain the title they gave up to New Zealand two years ago. The three meetings between the trans-Tasman rivals this year have all gone in the Kangaroos’ favour – including last week’s group match in Coventry.