An agonising 10-7 Ashes defeat completed a bleak start to the World Championships in Denver for England.
They fell short in a spiky affair as both teams scrapped to stay in the hunt for honours.
Tempers frayed as the game gathered intensity after an evenly-matched first half half that finished 3-3 with England playing their most expansive lacrosse of the tournament.
But a penalty strewn third quarter allowed the Aussies the time and space to find a rhythm and they rattled in four unanswered goals to pull clear. A late rally was too little too late and England were left devastated by the defeat.
The US and Japan are still to come as the group phase reaches a crescendo with the US and Canada leading the field.
England started brightly as the teams duelled for early supremacy. Crisp ball movement and sharper passing underscored an intent to bury the painful memories of the opening two losses.
The Aussies drew first blood with a diving finish from James Lawerson but England struck back with a Sam Russell precision shot after out-pacing his marker.
Ben McAllister had an eventful first quarter, saving a range of shots and a charge upfield that got past the Aussie restrainer before he was dispossessed.
The England lead came after Big Mac was upended and the free clear was quickly sent to Ady Bennett who scored with an accomplished finish. The talismanic keeper was instrumental in the next as he released Tom Gosnay who smartly evaded a thunderous take out on half way before drawing the cover and releasing Bennett for his second, a low bounce shot after faking the keeper.
England were looking more inventive and confident but the nightmare third derailed the progress.
Anson Carter netted two well-worked possessions, the first on a two-man advantage.
The pick of their four goal burst was Alex Brown somehow getting off a one-handed shot as he fell to the ground after a heavy hit. it was a goal to grace a Thompson highlight reel and, coming just a minute from quarter time, was a dagger to England hopes.
The penalties kept clocking up as both teams got abrasive and tested the referees’ patience but Australia now had a four goal cushion and could measure their possessions.
Chris Brady and Tom Gallon competed well at face off but again Australia grabbed the initiative with a goal after two minutes of the fourth quarter.
A Gosnay bullet past keeper Warren Brown’s right shoulder showed the potency of his finish but Australia restored their five goal lead after a sweeping move that raged the length of the field.
The Green & Golds were dominating as England chased and it was 10-4 before England mounted a thrilling comeback.
LSM Jack Wawrzyniak blazed home a shot after charging into space and then Nick Watson’s serpent like moves from X drew a double and he fed to Russell who made no mistake despite a barrage of Aussie hits.
He then found Colin Clive who unleashed a ferocious shot to make it 7-10 but with less than three minutes left, the Aussies were able to eat up the clock and claim their second win.
England will be desperately trying to link the approach that gave them freedom in the first quarter and a potent urgency in the last ten minutes.
Scorers: Ady Bennett 2, Sam Russell 2, Colin Clive, Tom Gosnay, Jak Wawrzyniak