England's Four Nations hopes were ended in all-too familiar fashion as they lost 34-14 against Australia in Melbourne.
Coach Steve McNamara fielded a new-look side, including three debutants, but the old failings were still there as they failed to compete with a Kangaroos side that was simply too strong and too skilful for them.
The holders ran in six tries from Willie Tonga, Lote Tuqiri, Brent Tate, Billy Slater and Luke Lewis (2) to cruise to a predictable victory in front of a disappointing 18,894 crowd at AAMI Park and clinch their place in the Four Nations final against New Zealand in Brisbane on November 13.
Luke Robinson and Sam Burgess bagged tries for England but it wasn't enough to stop the ignominious prospect of a wooden-spoon decider with Papua New Guinea.
England's Sam Burgess blamed basic errors for the defeat.
"I thought we started well, probably well enough to win the game," Burgess said on Sky Sports 1.
"I made a couple (of errors) myself which was disappointing. In the second 20 (minutes) in the first half we made too many errors in the tackle count.
"I'm thoroughly disappointed, I thought we'd have had a better crack than that tonight."
Shaun Lunt says McNamara's side now had to respond in their wooden-spoon decider with Papua New Guinea.
"It was a do-or-die game," he said. "All the boys were fired up for it.
"It's really gutting but hopefully we can get a good win against Papua New Guinea."