Saturday, October 30, 2010

We can beat Australia - McNamara

Four Nations - Australia v England
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne Date: Sunday, 31 October Time: 0745 GMT
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC 5 live sports extra, BBC Sport website and Sky Sports 1, highlights on BBC Two and online at 1705 GMT

England captain James Graham
England captain James Graham will seek to lead from the front

England coach Steve McNamara insists his side can upset the odds and beat Australia in their Four Nations clash in Melbourne on Sunday.

England, having lost to New Zealand in their opening game, have to win to keep alive their hopes of making the final.

"We coughed up too much ball last week. Certainly we want to start the match a whole lot better," said McNamara.

"Beating Australia has been done quite a few times in one-off matches so we know we've got the capability."

McNamara has brought in three uncapped players and reshuffled the rest of his team in a bid to take the Australians by surprise.

England suffered a 52-4 humiliation on their last visit to Melbourne in the 2008 World Cup but McNamara believes the fact that the new players have not been scarred by previous hammerings could help them this time.

Four Nations: New Zealand 24-10 England

Highlights - NZ 24-10 England (UK only)

"This group of players is very young and with that comes some inexperience but there is no fear whatsoever," said McNamara. "There is no previous history for a lot of these people.

"We all understand the importance of the game in terms of going further in the tournament but, if we start worrying too much about the result at this stage, it will affect our performance.

"We know we need every member of the team to bring their A game but we don't want to put any undue pressure on ourselves."

Huddersfield duo Shaun Lunt and Leroy Cudjoe and Warrington's Ben Harrison all come into the side after last week's 24-10 loss to New Zealand.

Lunt said: "The Aussies won't know who I am. Hopefully I can give them a shock."

"A lot of people say you are playing against Cameron Smith, one of the so-called best hookers in the world, but in my view I have played against the best hooker in the world in Keiron Cunningham.

"That's no disrespect to Cameron but I am not going to go in awe of anyone I have watched over the years.


"I am going to go in and play my game. I have deserved to be here so I am going to take my chance."

Meanwhile, Australia captain Darren Lockyer has hinted he may now be willing to lead Australia on their 2011 Four Nations trip to the northern hemisphere.

The 33-year-old record-breaking Australia try-scorer, the fourth oldest player in the NRL, was contemplating retirement from the international game 12 months ago.

"This time last year I thought that that was probably my last time with Australia," said Lockyer.

"Since that time, I worked pretty hard in the off season, got myself a little bit fitter and I felt the benefits of that.

"I feel like I've got a bit of a second wind so I could be around for a little longer yet."

England: S Tomkins (Wigan); D Goulding (Wigan), L Cudjoe (Huddersfield), R Atkins (Warrington), T Briscoe (Hull); S O'Loughlin (Wigan), L Robinson(Huddersfield); J Graham (St Helens, capt), J Roby (St Helens), S Burgess (South Sydney), G Ellis (Wests Tigers), J Tomkins (Wigan), B Westwood (Warrington).
Subs: S Lunt (Huddersfield), S Fielden (Wigan), E Crabtree (Huddersfield), B Harrison (Warrington).

Australia: B Slater (Melbourne); B Morris (St George Illawarra), B Tate (NZ Warriors), W Tonga (North Queensland), L Tuqiri (Wests Tigers); D Lockyer (Brisbane, capt), C Cronk (Melbourne); N Myles (Sydney Roosters), C Smith (Melbourne), P Civoniceva (Penrith), L Lewis (Penrith), S Thaiday (Brisbane), P Gallen (Cronulla).
Subs: D Shillington (Canberra), T Learoyd-Lars (Canberra), A Watmough (Manly), K Gidley (Newcastle).

Referee: T Archer (Australia).

Potenshöjande medel -

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