Gun-shy Scotland vow to improve
Lining up against the defending world champions in their first-ever Four Nations match, Scotland admitted they were overcome by the occasion in a 54-12 drubbing on Saturday morning (AEDT).
The Bravehearts went behind on five minutes and never recovered, trailing 30-0 after just 34 minutes thanks to doubles from Cooper Cronk and Josh Mansour, along with further tries to James Maloney and Blake Ferguson.
But Scotland halfback Ryan Brierley said an improved second period from his side was enough to convince him that the poor start could be put down to fearing the reputation of the opposition more than anything.
"We probably gave the Australians too much respect," said Brierley, who scored one of Scotland’s two tries in his international debut.
"I know that might sound a bit silly with the calibre of players they have got in their team, but we didn’t really settle down until 20 minutes into the game.
"We have just got to stop being caught in the headlights I suppose and meet fire with fire early on.
"Before we knew it the game was out of our reach, and you can’t give Australia that much time and possession of the ball.
"It’s a harsh lesson to learn and I am sure Steve (coach Steve McCormack) and the coaching staff will look hard into that for next week."
Despite giving up 1859 running meters and 14 line breaks across 80 minutes at KC Lightstream Stadium in Hull, Scotland rallied to compete in the second half and temper the red-hot Kangaroos.
Speaking post-match, McCormack said Australia’s superior preparation showed in the early exchanges, as his side struggled to find any rhythm or confidence through the first half hour.
"It was just the intensity, I watched the Perth Test and I thought Australia were really impressive," McCormack said.
"Obviously we had a testimonial game last week [instead].
"The start of the game obviously killed us a little bit, we just sat back a little bit and you have got to credit Australia for the way they played.
"I think as the game went on in the second half we got better and better and just ran out of a little bit of steam due to our bench in the end.
"We will be better, there’s no doubt about that.
"We will get cracking for that [next game against England]… I can’t wait to get the lads back in and go towards Coventry."