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Slater rights World Cup wrongs

Published: 8:21AM Monday November 16, 2009 Source: AAP

He didn't crave the redemption but Billy Slater got it anyway as the Australian fullback wiped away last year's World Cup nightmare with a stunning performance to lead the Kangaroos to a 46-16 Four Nations final win over England at Elland Road on Saturday night.

Typifying the genius that is Slater, the Australian No.1 produced three tries and a miracle try assist to get the Kangaroos home, after they were forced to withstand a gallant England display which scarcely deserved a 30-point hammering.

Backed by a brilliant display by South Sydney-bound prop Sam Burgess, England gave as good as they got to hold a slender 16-14 early in the second half, but Slater's brilliance soon silenced the frenzied crowd.

Still living with the horror pass which set up New Zealand's World Cup win, Slater wasn't going to let this one slip as well, and he proved the confidence hadn't been dented by last year's shocker when he again produced an infield flick as he sailed out of bounds.

This time the ball found Melbourne teammate Cameron Smith instead of the opposition - the play sending the margin out to two converted tries with 12 minutes remaining to kill off any hopes the home side and the 31,042 fans might have had.

"I feel satisfied - it's got nothing to do with what happened last year," Slater said.

"Last year's last year - you can't change that. As a player you've just got to get over it and move on.

"I feel that this team and everyone in it has moved on.

"It's a different game. When they scored that first try after halftime, I thought here we go again, but it was credit to the boys that they really dug in."

Smith admitted he felt some satisfaction for his Storm and Kangaroos teammate.

"A lot of people had a lot to say about his performance in that final ... I don't think he needed to, but hopefully he's corrected those wrongs," Smith said.

"Three tries, it's something that you want your fullback to do, is back up well."

The good footy really only started after Smith's try, the Kangaroos turning what should have been a tight win into a hammering with Slater completing his hat-trick and Jarryd Hayne grabbing his first of the series to complete the rout.

The first hour of the contest gave little indication of a blowout with the two sides trading tries like card collectors at a swap meet.

Burgess nearly brought the house down with his 40 metre effort to give England an early lead, but tries to Brett Morris - who had been denied what looked a legitimate try earlier in the game - and a dubious Greg Inglis put down sandwiched around a four pointer to Peter Fox left Australia with a slender 14-10 lead at the break.

"Well, they gave it a try," Inglis said of his four-pointer.

"I was confident, but you always second guess yourself when they go to the video ref."

Burgess made it a double when he roared onto a Gareth Ellis pass, and at 16-14, there was little indication of what was to follow, Australia taking advantage of a break in momentum when England centre Michael Shenton was concussed to score four tries in the final 12 minutes of the game.

Coach Tim Sheens, who revealed he would sleep in his Kangaroos blazer as he soaked up the win, said he was always confident his side could come back, but admitted the fear of failure was never far from his mind.

"You're always under pressure. And the Australian side is always under pressure because you're expected to win," Sheens said.

"If you don't, they'll change the side - the same goes with the coach."

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