Australia went into this weekend's quarter-final tie with Samoa in a buoyant mood. As just one of four teams to remain unbeaten throughout the group stages, the Kangaroos had amassed an impressive points difference of 104-10 against England, France and Lebanon respectively. Samoa, meanwhile, went into the clash without winning a game after a series of underwhelming performances against New Zealand, Tonga and Scotland. The hosts were therefore expected to win and win comfortably. But, a rampant Australia swept aside Samoa with ease, running in eight tries while keeping Samoa scoreless. A 46-0 hammering raised an important question: can anyone stop Australia from recording a second successive World Cup victory and their 11th overall?

Rusty win over England

Australia went into their opening group game with England under a mountain of pressure; in their own backyard and as holders of the World Cup from 2013, the mood in Melbourne was expectant.

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And, despite conceding a Jermaine McGillvary trademark try in the fourth minute, Australia left England hanging on in the opening forty minutes. Yet, down just 10-4 at the break, England was a different proposition in the second half and, with substitute James Roby in great form, they knocked repeatedly at the Kangaroos' door only to find the Australian defence at its formidable best.

On the back foot for most of the second half, Australia dealt the visitors a hammer blow a minute from the end when Josh Dugan raced 80 metres after collecting a hopeful Gareth Widdop kick. While not at their best, the Kangaroos had won the all-important two points and stretched their winning run over England to a remarkable 12 in succession.

France prove no match

Australia went into their second game against Les Tricolores as strong favourites.

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And, there was no choice of an Australian faux pas; in a 52-6 thrashing, the hosts scored ten tries including four from second-rower Wade Graham to tighten their grip on Group A. Although France did manage to register a try through Mark Kheirallah - a scorching 90-metre effort which was undoubtedly the try of the game - the Aussies were rarely threatened in defence and proved too strong and too skilful in attack for the French who simply could not cope with an Australian team at the top of their game.

On to Lebanon

Rugby League's minnows Lebanon, on the back of a heroic 29-18 victory over France and a tough 29-10 defeat to England, came up against a much-changed Australia side from the previous two weeks. With the likes of Billy Slater, Michael Morgan, Tyson Frizell and Josh McGuire all absent, Australia appeared to toil; leading just 10-0 at the break, the hosts notched up another four tries in the second half to register a 34-0 win. To leave Lebanon scoreless would have delighted head coach, Mal Meninga, and, although appearing disjointed and often confused in attack, the Aussies were certainly too good for the Cedars who despite their efforts could not break down the impregnable Australian defence.

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After sailing through Group A as runaway leaders, Australia now booked a quarter-final clash with Samoa. After disappointing results against their Group B opponents New Zealand and Tonga and a rather uninspiring draw against Scotland, Samoa was given little chance of inflicting defeat on Australia for the first time under Mal Meninga.

Samoa succumb to Australia's dominance

Predictions of an Australian victory prior to the quarter-final were correct. Yet, did anyone really see a 46-0 annihilation on the cards before kick-off? The signs of what was to come were there from the very beginning; Australia, dominant up the middle, scored in the eighth minute as Valentine Holmes raced 90 metres to go over for his first of a record-breaking five tries - Holmes became the first man to score five tries in a World Cup match.

Simply too powerful, the Kangaroos never looked back as they charged into an unassailable 30-0 lead as the half-time hooter sounded. Samoa just could not live with Australia and, after the hosts had scored three more tries after the break, the destruction was complete. On this red-hot form, can anyone really hope to wrestle the Paul Barriere Trophy from Australia?

A complete team

Australia has the quality from 1-17 to pick any opponent apart and tear them to shreds. Mal Meninga - head coach of the Kangaroos and former Australian international - has utilised the combinations that served him so well in State of Origin as Queensland head coach (where he had nine series' victories from ten that spanned as far back as 2006), with the spine of Melbourne trio Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and captain Cameron Smith influential in Australia's rampant mood thus far.

Their forward pack has been no less important to Australia's dominance. And, against Samoa, forwards David Klemmer, Aaron Woods, Regan Campbell-Gillard and Jordan McLean laid the platform for those crucial pivots mentioned above to play in the sweltering conditions of Darwin - an area more familiar with Aussie Rules - the capital of the Northern Territory.

The success of the Australian defence has been just as impressive as their attacking ability too; a 104-10 points difference coming out of the group stages now stands at a whopping 150-10. This Australian team has been so far, untouchable. Do Fiji - Australia's semi-final opponents, or Australia's potential opponents for the final - Tonga, England or PNG - the latter two who play tomorrow - have what it takes to send the holders out at their own World Cup?

Mal Meninga, since taking over in December 2015, has a 100% record after overseeing 11 victories thus far. By December 2, these 11 victories could well have become 13; can anyone stop the Australian juggernaut ploughing its way towards its 11th World Cup triumph?

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