Kangaroos frustrated by stop-start game

His side might have sealed top spot in Pool A and a showdown with Samoa in the World Cup quarter-finals but Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga was less than impressed with the officiating following Australia's 34-0 win over Lebanon on Saturday night. 

Tipped by many to run up a cricket score against the tournament minnows, the Aussies struggled for continuity in the first half, establishing a 10-0 lead at the break before they ran away with it in the final 10 minutes. 

While their opening game against England was allowed to flow by NRL referee Matt Cecchin, the same couldn't be said on Saturday as Englishman James Child blew 21 penalties.

The flow of the game wasn't helped by 22 errors and several injury breaks, but Meninga's biggest gripe was with the penalty count.  

"It was a frustrating game…it was very slow," he said after the comfortable win. 

"It was probably one of the slowest games that I've seen for a while. There were 21 penalties and there were a lot of stoppages. We want to see a good game of rugby league, don't we, so we want to be allowed to play a bit more. 

"We had three penalties in the first game against England and not many penalties against France last week, and all of a sudden both teams were penalised for a lot of things that other teams have been getting away with.

"It's our showpiece so we should be allowed to play footy. It was just a bit frustrating tonight because there were a lot of things in the play the ball area and a lot of stoppages around injuries that normally you wouldn't see in our game so I'm a bit disappointed in that. 

"We're trying to play attractive footy and showcase the skills of the players, and I thought that wasn't allowed tonight."

Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith said the team grew increasingly frustrated in the opening stanza due to the stop-start nature of the contest. 

"We came into the sheds and I could see the frustration on everyone's faces. We just couldn't get any roll on with the footy," Smith said. 

"Defensively I was very happy with what we produced tonight, but we got frustrated and I think we went searching a little bit. We went searching for some points instead of just building pressure on them and getting the points on the board."