With England having fallen to Australia this morning, it’s clear to see where the problems are for the Pommies, and international rugby league as a whole.
They may have scored the first try, but England were clearly outclassed by the Aussies. They were unfit, undisciplined and unravelled as the Kangaroos’ class shone through the second half.
The big difference that really stands out between these sides are the player combinations.
The likes of Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Greg Inglis and Cameron Smith have played alongside each other for the better half of a decade, and their knowledge of each other is almost scary. T
hey know what they’re going to do before they even do it, and their combinations are brilliant to see. Just watch the lead up to Josh Dugan’s try when Smith and Cronk combined beautifully.
England, on the other hand, have their best crop of players playing in the NRL, while the rest are off in the Super League.
Another concern is that these players are picked from a plethora of different clubs, and countries for that matter.
I truly believe that the answer to England’s problems could lie in the lack of international games played.
For England to succeed, and any rugby league nation other than Australia and New Zealand for that matter, combinations need to be made, and an understanding of players needs to be made, and for that to happen, more Tests need to be played.
I’d really like to see a representative period played midyear, for both the Super League and NRL.
The Aussies can play State of Origin, while the Kiwis and Brits can play each other in a three match Test series. Similarly, nations such as Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France could play each other too.
The rest of the NRL and Super League could either be rested or you could possibly even throw in the Nines, which can be discussed at a later date.
Regardless, I think this could really benefit international league.
Wayne Bennett is going to be criticised for not getting England any more wins on the board, but realistically the man has barely had any preparation time, and neither has his team to forge any real combinations.
Players have such a little understanding of each other that sometimes it’s hard to blame them for dropping a ball or missing a tackle, because they barely have any trust in each other, and barely any knowledge of each other.
The fact that England won’t have any preparation before next year’s World Cup is a disgrace and they’ll just be going back to square one, and they won’t be the only nation.
The RLIF, NRL and Super League need to be conscious of International rugby league’s growth and the international game needs to be accommodated if the game wants to become big on the world stage. England need a fair chance of building combinations and so does every other league nation out there.