Australia cruise through Four Nations opener against Scotland
Australia cruised through their Ladbrokes Four Nations opener but Scotland spared their blushes with a late recovery to keep the score to respectable proportions.
The Bravehearts looked destined for the embarrassment skipper Danny Brough feared when they trailed 30-0 after 34 minutes but tries from Ryan Brierley and Ben Kavanagh eased the pain of a 54-12 defeat on their Four Nations debut.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga was able to rest Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd and bring skipper Cameron Smith off at half-time but the tourists still had too much pace and power for a Scotland side that was blown away inside the first 15 minutes.
Meninga took the opportunity to give debuts to five back-up members of his 24-strong squad which amply demonstrated their strength in depth while former Wales second rower Tyson Frizzell enjoyed an impressive full debut.
Stand-off James Maloney scored 18 points with a try and seven goals on his debut while loose forward Jake Trbojevic also marked his first appearance for his country with a touchdown.
Brough led Scotland\'s fightback and NRL regulars Euan Aitken and Lachlan Coote made impressive debuts as the outgunned Bravehearts emerged with considerable credit.
There was also a rousing performance from prop Adam Walker who appeared to thrive on the constant booing from Hull KR fans angered over his decision to leave the relegated club in favour of a move to St Helens.
Winger Blake Ferguson opened the scoring after four minutes, touching down for the first of their 10 tries at the corner straight from a scrum, and scrum-half Cooper Cronk grabbed the first of his two tries five minutes later after racing onto Smith\'s grubber kick off the side of his foot in a move honed on the Melbourne training park.
Cronk then sparked a clinical move for Maloney to touch down before finishing off a break by former Wales second rower Tyson Frizzell to claim his second on his 30th appearance.
A thunderous tackle from Scotland hooker Liam Hood on full-back Matt Moylan lifted his side and briefly stemmed the green and gold tide and Smith showed he is human after all with a rare fumble inside his own half.
Left winger Josh Mansour got the scoreboard moving again with two tries in the second quarter after more good work from his Penrith team-mate Moylan that took the score out to 30-0.
The Bravehearts\' first try came two minutes before the break when Brierley touched down a trademark grubber kick from his Huddersfield team-mate Brough, who added the conversion.
Centre Josh Dugan then dummied his way over from 50 metres to score Australia\'s first try in the second half before being forced off following a clash of heads with Luke Douglas.
Maloney kicked his fourth goal to extend the lead to 36-6 but Scotland rallied and Brough came up with a 50-metre break to turn defence into attack and create the position for prop Adam Walker to get loose forward Ben Kavanagh over for their second try on 58 minutes.
Brough\'s second goal cut the lead to 36-12 but the Australians found their second wind in the last 20 minutes with Frizzell proving unstoppable from 15 metres out and Michael Morgan and Trbojevic adding further tries against the tiring Scots.