Bennett doesn’t rate England in World Cup final

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    England probably aren’t playing well enough to beat Australia in the Rugby League World Cup final – or so says their coach.

    In typically dry fashion, NRL-based supercoach Wayne Bennett told reporters on Saturday that his side’s display in their 20-18 semi-final win over Tonga wouldn’t be enough for the all-conquering Kangaroos next weekend in Brisbane.

    Seemingly coasting at 20-0 with seven minutes left, England somehow gave up three late tries to a fast-finishing Mate Ma’a.

    Australia obliterated Fiji 54-6 in Friday night’s first semi-final, seeking to win a fourth World Cup crown in five attempts.

    “Probably not,” Bennett said when asked if England could lift the trophy.

    “But we’ll be there next week – we’ll still go to the game.”

    Speaking with his tongue less firmly in cheek, Tonga counterpart Kristian Woolf felt England had every chance of World Cup glory, but had to be perfect.

    Australia’s defence – with only three tries conceded all tournament – would certainly be miserly, meaning England would have to follow suit.

    “They’re going to defend well, going to be very hard to score points against, and England were very tough to score points against tonight,” Woolf said.

    “I’ve had good looks at England and New Zealand (but) I really haven’t had a good look at Australia, except for what we’ve seen against Fiji last night – they were outstanding; they’re going to be very hard to beat and always are.

    “I’d certainly like to think England make it a real contest.”

    Bennett, keeping his cards close to his chest, also said he hadn’t spent much time watching Australia’s performances.

    His side started off their campaign with a group-stage opening match against the Kangaroos and lost 18-4, but scored the game’s first try.

    They’ve since gone on to defeat France and Lebanon in pool play, before a 36-6 quarter-final win over Papua New Guinea and Saturday’s semi-final triumph.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • November 25th 2017 @ 10:48pm
      Peter Phelps said | November 25th 2017 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

      Maybe not, but they are there and anything can happen in that eighty minutes.

      If England did win, it would be one of the best things to happen for the game for a very long time. A real boost for Superleague and for the international game. This comp has been a huge success already.

      • Roar Guru

        November 25th 2017 @ 11:04pm
        Sleiman Azizi said | November 25th 2017 @ 11:04pm | ! Report

        I agree.

        For 72 minutes of that match, England were excellent and on that 72 minutes, can challenge Australia and even win.

        But it is the last 8 minutes that is worrying.

        • November 26th 2017 @ 11:40am
          Fred said | November 26th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          Does this Australian team have that raw passion which drove Tonga in the last 8 minutes?

          • Roar Guru

            November 26th 2017 @ 1:40pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | November 26th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            Australia come across as the Terminator. No emotion, all business.

            And they know how to get their business done, that’s for sure.

            As for England, I think they can beat Australia. But they can also lose too. Nothing earth shattering with that insight, to be sure.

            Still, who knows what will happen in the final…

      • November 25th 2017 @ 11:21pm
        Hehe said | November 25th 2017 @ 11:21pm | ! Report

        The comp has been a huge success? Seriously I’m all for trying to see the good in everything but there needs to be someone who points out some hard facts, even though some will not like it. The attendances for this world cup have been shocking less people have gone to it than the last one in England. The sport should see the world cup grow every 4 years not shrink. Australia have not been challenged once! The other teams are just not catching up to them.

        • November 26th 2017 @ 12:47pm
          Peter Phelps said | November 26th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          Firstly, Success is not just attendances, it is quality of games, it is tv audiences and it is the increasing interest in the greatest game of all that it generates.

          Gates have been hampered by 2 things over the last time it was held in the UK. Advertising – virtually none existent in Melbourne where I live and probably not much better elsewhere and Distance – played in the UK, all games were equivalent of being played within Victoria whereas this year they have been played in 4 different countries and several venues the length and breadth of Australia with distances that make anything in the UK look like a walk in the park.

          So yes, this comp has been a huge success, the passion in the pacific islands and the skills of the Aussies, Kiwis and Poms was fantastic. This comp had everything.

          • Roar Guru

            November 26th 2017 @ 1:54pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | November 26th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            You’re right.

            When people see empty seats and read about the attendance targets that were set it seems a no-brainer that the World Cup has been a ‘failure’.

            But when you compare the quality of the games and the reach the code has had into non-professional nations and the television ratings, then the tournament has clearly been a success.

            As for the crowds, when you look at the average rugby league Test match crowds at each of the stadiums you’ll find that other than the Australia v Fiji semi-final, the attendances have all been good.

            Lebanon drew 21,000 against Australia in Sydney. The double header in Perth attracted 15,000. The PNG and New Zealand-staged matches have been sold out or close to. The Australia v England match in Melbourne drew the same crowd as the last time the two nations met there. The Tonga v Lebanon match drew a crowd that seemed poor but was actually higher than the average there and the same stadium hosted the highest rugby league Test match crowd when New Zealand played Scotland.

            If critics are looking for massive sold out stadiums ala World Cup soccer or even World Cup union, then really, it is they who need to adjust their expectations.

            This World Cup has been great.

            For sure it could have been better but that goes without saying when you have the minimal staff and resources that hinder the RLIF.

            • November 27th 2017 @ 12:43pm
              Billy said | November 27th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

              I don’t know what people expected the crowds to be. In regard to the game at Suncorp on the weekend; You are almost two months removed from the NRL Grand Final – people need a break already, you are playing at a ground that has already had what 20 professional games this season? And if tickets are available are you going to buy a ticket to the Semi Final or a ticket to the Final (when there a greater than 90% chance Australia will play in both)?

          • November 27th 2017 @ 4:24pm
            Larry1950 said | November 27th 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

            From what I read early on, the ratings for Ch7 have been surprisingly good and crowds were reasonable given the time of year this comp has dragged into. I’ve enjoyed Lebanon’s games so much I even started to have a grudging respect for Robbie Farah (oh no, wash my mouth out with soap).
            Hodgson will be a huge loss to England, his injury coincided with their drop off in execution and discipline. He was making breaks, directing their traffic and making quality tackles. Sam Burgess still looked restricted in his movement despite his gallant efforts and when the pressure came on late his little brother coughed up the usual passes. I expect a similar result to the ashes test, poms right in the mix for 2/3 of the game, then fold like a pack of cards.
            Ricky Stuart will be cursing the World Cup, Hodgson doesn’t look like being back before August and the raiders are a bit thin in the back up hooker ranks. Wonder if they’ll rethink the release of Baptiste, Garvey doesn’t look like a first choice hooker.

            • November 27th 2017 @ 5:09pm
              Maestro said | November 27th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

              There is nothing else on as far as sport goes at the this time of year on FTA TV which is why they left the big gap so understandably good ratings. Funny one person claiming the crowds are bad because of a surfeit of RL and then another claiming the TV ratings are good (why because there has been a surfeit of RL?). Which is it?? Too much RL or just enough..

              • November 27th 2017 @ 9:55pm
                nerval said | November 27th 2017 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

                Except, Maestro, that even when there’s plenty else sport on, rugby league still manages to get whopping ratings, doesn’t it? And, anyway, what’s stopping non-sporting programmes getting huge ratings? There’s no law that says they can’t.

    • November 25th 2017 @ 11:26pm
      Paul J said | November 25th 2017 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

      The mind games have begun

    • Roar Guru

      November 25th 2017 @ 11:36pm
      Renegade said | November 25th 2017 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

      This is Wayne at his best.

      England were brilliant for 70 minutes and then took the foot off the gas in the final 10 as their minds went onto next week…. huge mental lapse but their first 70 minutes were good enough to at least compete next week.

      Looking forward to the final, the two best teams are there and hopefully we get another ripping game.

    • November 26th 2017 @ 8:55am
      MAX said | November 26th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Australia are better things than Winx in a Mungindi maiden and priced accordingly.

    • November 26th 2017 @ 9:44am
      Steve said | November 26th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Wayne has started his reverse physicology on everyone just block all his rubbish out of your heads Aussies to win by 20 to 30 .

      • November 26th 2017 @ 12:53pm
        Peter Phelps said | November 26th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        Aussies will probably win and by a fair margin. They are on another level. For the English to win, they need to play like that first 70 minutes for the full eighty and then somehow find a Tongan like passion to blitz a few tries.

        I might be a bit of a traitor but for the good of the game, I would really really like to see the flag of St George reign supreme in the final.

        • Roar Guru

          November 26th 2017 @ 1:56pm
          Sleiman Azizi said | November 26th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

          You’re not a traitor.

          This isn’t politics or war so you can support whoever you want.

          For the good of the code, I’ve been hoping for an English victory at the World Cup ever since New Zealand won in 2008.

          • November 27th 2017 @ 10:27am
            Zac Jones said | November 27th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            Doesn’t this just sum up the state of Rugby League. Australians going for England “for the good of the game”..
            An England win will get zero traction over there atleast if Australia win there will be something in the Qld and NSW media

            • Roar Guru

              November 27th 2017 @ 12:05pm
              Sleiman Azizi said | November 27th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

              Even if only ‘the Qld and NSW media’ report on it?

              (rolls eyes)

            • November 27th 2017 @ 9:03pm
              nerval said | November 27th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

              What makes you think that an England win would have “zero traction” in England, Zac?

              The final is to be televised live on BBC1 and, unlike so often with the game in Australia, it will be shown live across the country. For some reason, there are still so many Australians, especially those whose information has been garnered from rugby union or Aussie Rules sites, who believe that this kind of game will be shown only to the “north” of England. It has never been this way.

              An England victory, as unlikely as that may be, would have a major impact. And, even then, it would barely scratch the surface of what a successful England team could do for the health and welfare of the international game at large.

              • November 27th 2017 @ 9:43pm
                Zac Jones said | November 27th 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

                Im not doubting it will be shown throughout England. Its only some in the north that would get up and watch it is what im saying.
                You have rocks in your head if you think otherwise.
                The Ashes, Premier League, Union Test matches are all more important sporting fixtures going on over there and here this time of year which will be in the limelight.

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2017 @ 5:39am
                Sleiman Azizi said | November 28th 2017 @ 5:39am | ! Report

                Is there even an argument in there?

                There are a lot of things that are more important or popular than a rugby league Test match.

                That doesn’t mean that people won’t watch it though…

              • November 28th 2017 @ 1:16am
                nerval said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:16am | ! Report

                What you’re saying is wrong. Super League games, for example, have more viewers from outside the north of England. I’d imagine that this will be the case for an England World Cup final appearance. One does’t need “rocks” in one’s head to acknowledge these basic facts.

                Oh, and they don’t have to get up very early either. Kick off is, I think, 9.30am local time.

                Your last paragraph is meaningless. There’ll also be no Premier League games, Union Test matches or Ashes cricket on at the same time… And, even if there were, an England World Cup final win over Australia on the latter’s home soil would still make a huge impact.

            • November 27th 2017 @ 9:43pm
              Peter Phelps said | November 27th 2017 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

              Aussie games be they NZ/Australia, Origin or everyday NRL games are better reported in England than they are in many Australian Capital cities.

    • November 26th 2017 @ 1:59pm
      republican said | November 26th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

      …..that old chestnut could just work for Bennett.
      Complacency has long been the Kangaroos achilles heel…….

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