Australia V England
Sunday 31st October 2010, 07:30am at AAMI Park, Melbourne
Match build up
Not to put any pressure on England, they just have to win. Simple as that really, the Lions know if they lose this the game against PNG next week is nothing more than a friendly and they are as good as on the flight home.
2 wins in 22 years in Australia shows beating these lot is easier said than done. England (or Great Britain for most of us) haven’t beaten the Green and Golds in a series in the last four decades.
It makes the stomach turn when you hear comments like those of Australian legend Ben Elias who believes “there is no chance in the world (that England) can win the Four Nations”. The same guy has also branded it boring that Australia and New Zealand are regularly left to battle it out in the big games to decide who really rules the rugby league roost.
In all fairness with the strength in depth and quality the green and golds boast you can see why they are so arrogant. Even without star names such as Thurston, Lyon and Inglis the Kangaroos came into the tournament odds on favourites to make it three in a row and five out of six.
As mentioned before in the team profile and in the build up to the New Zealand game England must use their pack to good effect if they are to have any impact on this game. Flair is also something that seemed to catch the Kiwis cold last week and England must use the innovative skills of Sam Tomkins and a few others to cause the Aussies problems.
Australia – WWWWD
W 42-0 V Papua New Guinea, Parramatta, 24 October 2010 – Four Nations 2010 Game 2
W 46-16 V England, Leeds, 14 November – Gillette Four Nations 2009 Final
W42-4 v France, Paris, 7 November – Gillette Four Nations 2009 Game 5
W 26-16 V England, Wigan, 31 October – Gillette Four Nations 2009 Game 3
D 20-20 V New Zealand, London, 24 October – Gillette Four Nations 2009 Game 2
England – LDDWL
L 10-24 V New Zealand, Wellington, 23 October 2010 – Four Nations 2010 Game 1
D 18-18 V NZ Maori, Auckland, 16 October 2010 - International Match
D 18-18 V Cumbria, Barrow, 3 October 2010 – Friendly
W 60-6 V France, Leigh, 12 June 2010 – International Match
L 46-16 V Australia, Leeds, 14 November 2009 – Gillette Four Nations 2009 Final
Last five meetings
Australia 46-16 England, Leeds, 14 November 2009 – Four Nations 09 Final
Australia 26-16 England, Wigan, 31 October 2009 – Four Nations 09 Game 3
Australia 52-4 England, Melbourne, 2 November 2008 – RLWC Group Game
Australia 33-10 England, Brisbane, 18 November 2006* – Tri Nations
England 23-12 Australia, Sydney, 4 November 2006* – Tri Nations
*England playing as Great Britain
Played - 152
England - 68
Australia - 77
Drawn - 7
Played - 10
England - 2
Australia - 8
Drawn - 0
Sam Tomkins V Darren Lockyer
At opposite ends of their careers these two have a lot in common. Tough, strong and extremely talented to name but a few, whoever wins will have either of these two to thank. Everyone reading this knows of Sam’s exceptional talent just as anyone who knows anything about this great game knows how much of a legend Lockyer is. Sam had a good game last week and will want to kick on from there. Hopefully he can have the game of his life against one of the greats.
Gareth Ellis V Sam Thaiday
Ellis himself this week admitted he needed to step it up and become more a leader in this pack and boy do we need that. A great player Ellis has played for Wests in the NRL since the start of 2009 and recently signed a deal that will see him stay there until the end of 2013. Wests and Australia coach Tim Sheens said "In my time here, dollar-for-dollar, he's been the best buy this club has had." He faces the big man from Brisbane Sam Thaiday. A one club man Thaiday won the man of the match award in this years ANZAC test and will be looking to continue that form.
Gareth Widdop V Billy Slater
The young pretender against the real deal? We’ll soon find out. Widdop is a rather unknown for most England fans, having emigrated to Oz as youngster he continued to play the greatest game and was soon offered a chance at the Melbourne Storm. He is rated very highly by all down at the Victoria club. Unfortunately he is behind the best full back in the world, a certain Mr B Slater. This guy is electric in attack and immense in defence. A brilliant full back who would walk into any side, named man of the match in last years NRL grand final he also bagged a hat trick the last time these two met at Elland Road.
Gareth Ellis on facing club coach Tim Sheens (Australia coach): “No fear ... the challenge of overcoming Tim is greater than any fear," Ellis said. "I need to stand up this week and be a thorn in his side."
Cameron Smith on facing team mate Gareth Widdop: "From the little that I saw of the game against the Kiwis (last weekend) I thought he played really well, he backs up well, he's strong on the kick returns and I thought he was one of the better players."
Michael Shenton on the match: "I'm definitely going to support the boys on Sunday. I think the guys are really ready for it. Everybody has gelled really well on tour."
Billy Slater on the Aussies improvement: "I think we were a little bit off last week, I don't know whether that was the wet weather or the boys hadn't played for a while. We're looking to come out and improve on that and play a lot sharper with our attack."
@ AAMI Park, Melbourne
Four Nations Weekend 1 Preview – Friday, 6:00pm, Sky Sports 2
LIVE – Sunday 5:55am, BBC Two
Replays – Throughout the weekend on Sky Sports
Highlights – Sunday, 5:05pm, BBC Two