TRY MACHINE Valentine Holmes eased Australia into the World Cup Final – by making it an astonishing 11 in just TWO matches.
The Cronulla ace bagged five tries in the quarter-final win over Samoa and added another six against another Pacific island side.
Yet despite his haul, with his 12 taking him clear of Wendall Sailor’s record for scores in a single tournament, Holmes wants to play full-back at club level.
Now Mal Meninga’s side will play either England or Tonga in the Brisbane showpiece next Saturday.
There are seemingly three certainties in life – death, taxes and that Australia will be in the Rugby League World Cup final.
The Kangaroos’ defence has been awesome in the tournament – prior to this game they had conceded just two tries.
But Fiji showed their intent early on, mostly through Jarryd Hayne’s shoulder charge on Billy Slater after he was hit late by David Klemmer.
And they took the lead through Api Koroisau’s penalty as prop Aaron Woods went off with a shoulder injury.
Matt Gillett should have replied by crossing the line but for some reason, he decided to pass to Dane Gagai – and it was one of the worst balls in years as it sailed into touch.
After losing semi-finals 52-0 in 2008 and 64-0 in 2013, this was huge progress.
But Michael Morgan did not make the same mistake and sent Slater over before Valentine Holmes extended the lead with a double.
Dane Gagai also cashed in as Fiji were their own worst enemies, blowing promising positions and losing the ball.
With a final place seemingly wrapped up, it appeared to be a case of how many Australia would win by and not if.
But Holmes raced 90 metres after picking off Kevin Naiqama’s pass and Slater hared over for his second, his record-breaking 16th at a World Cup.
Suliasi Vunivalu eventually broke what seemed the unbreakable with his ninth try of the tournament – the first Australia had conceded in 276 minutes of play!
However, that was never going to be anywhere near enough and Josh Dugan sent Holmes in again to seal the mind-boggling stat.
Until last week, no Aussie player had scored five tries in a Test match – now the same man has done it twice!
Gagai made it a more mundane double for himself but this was small fry compared to Holmes, who added yet another with five minutes remaining.
Cameron Smith booted seven goals on another incredible night as the defending champions set up another final.