It was a spectacular night for Holmes, who became the first ever Kangaroo to score five tries in a test match, no mean feat considering the players that have donned the green and gold.
Skipper Cameron Smith also notched a personal milestone as he became the most capped Aussie at a World Cup with 15, surpassing the legendary Bob Fulton, while fullback Billy Slater joined Jarryd Hayne as the tournament’s leading try scorer with 14.
But most impressive was the Kuki winger, who had a hat-trick after only 50 minutes.
“I’m speechless. I’m honoured to be the first to score five tries. Our main goal was to try and turn their big forwards around,” Holmes said after the match.
“It was physically and mentally tough in the heat. We were feeling it, they were feeling it.”
Even without the five tries, Holmes has been one of the most impressive wingers in the tournament.
In fact, the argument could be made that the top two wingers in the competition, Holmes and the Kiwi’s (and former CI rep) Jordan Rapana, are both Cook Islanders.
The easy win cast a storm over the disappointing Samoa, who left the tournament with their tail between their legs, having suffered three defeats and one draw.
Making matters worse is the ascent of Tonga, who have possibly stamped themselves as the second best rugby league nation in the world.
Thursday’s match was more akin to a training run for the Kangaroo’s, who barely broke a sweat against the proud island nation.
With the win, Australia will progress to the semi-finals, where they will play the winner of the New Zealand-Fiji match, which was played after this edition went to print.