Addo-Carr is all smiles as Australia secure Rugby League World Cup semi-final slot

Josh Addo-Carr of Australia celebrates after scoring their team's third try during the Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and Lebanon (Getty Images for RLWC 2021)
Josh Addo-Carr of Australia celebrates after scoring their team's third try during the Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and Lebanon (Getty Images for RLWC 2021)

By James Toney in Huddersfield

Josh Addo-Carr is always at his most dangerous when playing with a smile on his face - and his grin was ear-to-ear in an ominous statement of intent.

He took his tournament try tally to 11 with a five-try show as the Kangaroos booked their semi-final place with a 48-4 win over Lebanon in Huddersfield.

Foxx is now three tries ahead of England's Dom Young in the scoring charts and needs just two more to snatch team-mate Valentine Holmes's all-time record, after his 12 try haul five years ago.

Addo-Carr is a confidence player and his self-belief is surging, a far cry from the dejected winger who spent some of the NRL season sidelined through injury and was snubbed from Brad Fittler's New South Wales State of Origin team.

And he claimed his battle with new England star Young - a player already being likened to the legendary Martin Offiah - to finish top try scorer is brilliant box office for the sport.

"Dom is having a special tournament in a wonderful team, hats off to how he's playing and I'm really enjoying watching him," said Addo-Carr.

"I'm just enjoying my footy, I feel like we've got something special happening with this team and the bond we've got is great. I'm enjoying every moment and don't want it to stop. We all working so hard for each other.

“I'm just doing my job and not thinking about anything but the next game. The Origin game wasn't my time and I just moved on from it and focussed on what I had to do for the Bulldogs.

“I'm just grateful to get this opportunity.”

Addo-Carr pulled out a different bespoke celebration for each try, reenacting Usain Bolt's trademark pose as a special request for team-mate Harry Grant's nephew.

This is a team playing for each other in more ways than one.

"Josh has been terrific on and off the field and he's great to be around," said coach Mal Meninga.

"He does what we need to do and that is score tries. He's had an up and down year in the NRL but we've got the real Foxx here now."

Addo-Carr's five-try haul - equalling Valentine Holmes' effort against Samoa in the 2017 World Cup quarter-final - will rightly hog the headlines in Huddersfield.

But the Kangaroos made 13 errors and completed at 68 percent, their stats more scrappy after the break with the win seemingly well banked, complacency they can't afford in the semi-finals, where either Fiji or New Zealand await in Leeds.

Captain James Tedesco sat out the second half with his knee iced as a precaution, Meninga forced to do what he's spent the last month talking about, by playing Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves while Cameron Munster dropped to full-back.

"I was not going to risk him as I felt we had to game in hand at half-time," added Meninga.

"I was happy with the way we played, especially defensively. The ruck was a bit slow and messy and we didn't get into a flow in the second half. But we're happy with the win and no injuries and it's on to next week now.

"We turned the ball over a little bit and had to work a bit harder for our yardage but overall I'm happy with the result.

"We've not played international matches for three years and we've got lots of newcomers in this squad, we had a good talk about how we'd come together and everyone has bought into it. The players have reacted so well and we've got some really happy people off the field too."

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