England, Tonga, Papua New Guinea win rugby league matches

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Samoan fans in support.

Samoan fans in support. (Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / photosport.co.nz)

SYDNEY (AP) — Tries to Ryan Hall and Stefan Ratchford gave England a 14-0 halftime lead on its way to a 30-10 win over Samoa in a rugby league international at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.

Prop and Canterbury skipper James Graham played strongly in the five-tries-to-two win, running for a game-high 168 meters and scoring the match-sealing try.

It took just three minutes for England's strong forward pack to click into gear, with Graham and Sean O'Loughlin combining to send prolific try-scorer Hall over for the opener.

England, coached by veteran Australian Wayne Bennett, extended its lead 11 minutes before the halftime break when Luke Gale knocked over a simple penalty goal courtesy of a ruck infringement close to the line.

England finished the half as they started with Ratchford moving his way through some poor Samoan defense to score under the posts.

The Samoans came back in the second half when Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford scored a try to make it 20-10 with 13 minutes remaining, but Graham barged over in the 74th.

In other international matches Saturday at the same stadium in western Sydney, Papua New Guinea beat the Cook Islands 32-22 and Tonga edged Fiji 26-24.

Ase Boas kicked a penalty goal for Papua New Guinea from the halfway line on fulltime to cap the win after the sides were level 12-12 at halftime.

Papua New Guinea took an early lead with consecutive tries from Thompson Teteh and Wartovo Puara. Boas' penalty goal closed the scoring, giving the Kumuls their second straight Pacific test win after last year's 24-22 victory against Fiji.

Leilani Latu scored a late try, his second of the match, to give Tonga its close win over Fiji. Fiji went into the final minutes up 24-20 but Tongan hooker Siliva Havili jumped out of dummy half and sent Penrith forward Latu crashing over for the winning points.

Australia started the four-match weekend of Sydney internationals with a 30-12 win over New Zealand on Friday.

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