26 Oct 2022
Five stars from Round 2 of the men's Rugby League World Cup
Who stood out from the second batch of group-stage matches
By Paul Eddison
With Round 2 of the men's Rugby League World Cup in the books, here are five players that excelled in the second batch of group games.
Josh Addo-Carr (Australia)
There has been no stopping Josh Addo-Carr so far.
Following two tries against Fiji on the opening night of the Rugby League World Cup, the speedster added four more to his tally against Scotland as the Kangaroos racked up an 84-0 victory.
His fourth stacks up against any score in World Cup history, Matt Burton acrobatically keeping the ball in play with a ‘hot dog pass’ before Addo-Carr latched on to his own grubber to seal the win in style.
Tougher opponents lie in wait but few will fancy taking on the Bulldogs flyer in this mood.
Viliame Kikau (Fiji)
Fiji needed a response after being beaten by Australia in Round 1 and Viliame Kikau’s performance was key in ensuring they delivered one.
The 27-year-old, fresh from NRL glory with Penrith Panthers, set the tone with an early try at Kingston Park and crossed again later in the first half as the Bati put the result beyond doubt by the interval.
His influence did not wane in the second 40 minutes as Kikau played an integral role in each of Maika Sivo’s two tries.
First, he expertly claimed Sitiveni Moceidreke’s spiral bomb and got his pass off before being tackled to help put Sivo away in the corner and the pair linked up again in the dying minutes as Kikau’s outrageous offload helped keep the ball alive before wing Sivo crossed for his second.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (New Zealand)
The easiest call of the entire week. Regardless of opposition, when you score four and make three more you are in.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak needed just 18 minutes to notch a hat-trick against Jamaica as the Reggae Warriors were left exposed out wide time and again.
But the Kiwi winger is not just a finisher, he stepped in at centre to create one and then showed his kicking ability to set up two more in a 68-6 victory.
Perhaps his greatest feat was try number four, despite being hobbled by cramp, Watene-Zelezniak managed to finish acrobatically in the corner on one leg before taking his leave.
Dom Young (England)
What more is there to say about Dom Young who is fast becoming one of the faces of this World Cup.
Still only 21, he added two tries to the double he managed against Samoa, as England backed up that opening success with a 42-18 win over France.
While the result was effectively in the bag by the time Young got over, his threat out wide hangs over everything. First it was the perfect support line to get his opening try, and then his second was all about that pace.
When a long, floating pass just hung in the air, inviting Young onto it, there was only one outcome. Unsurprisingly the crowd in Bolton were on their feet as he raced 90 metres to score. Can we have a race between Young and Addo-Carr?
Mitchell Moses (Lebanon)
In terms of quarter-final qualification, no game was bigger in Round 2 than Lebanon against Ireland.
It quickly became clear that the Cedars would have too much for their opponents, and in large part thanks to one man.
Mitchell Moses is a class act and he pulled out all the tricks to help Lebanon into a 20-4 half-time lead that they never looked like relinquishing.
As well as some fine goal-kicking, knocking over six shots out of seven, Moses also pulled the strings with one no-look pass to put in Jacob Kiraz the highlight.
It was no coincidence that he was the man on the end of some Irish high tackles by the end, it was the only way they could lay a hand on the Paramatta Eels star.
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets