The article was typical of a lot of press thats coming out of the UK at the moment.
With England having just beaten a French team thats was mostly made up of players that are either on the fringe of the Catalan Dragons Super League squad, and players that come from the semi professional French Rugby League ranks, you would think that the best thing that could have happened in England is some quiet reflection on the teams performance and a push for major improvement ahead of the World Cup.
After watching the incredible performance in game three of the State Of Origin series, you don’t have to search very far to find so called English Rugby League experts willing to tell you that Australia’s best were impressive, but very beatable by the team that just rolled through the mish mash of French Rugby Leagues best.
Please, forgive us Australians if we have a chuckle at your expense.
Our closest neighbor in New Zealand know how it works.
They are the second best Rugby league nation in the world, with new talent emerging all the time. Most of New Zealand’s Test players are based in Australia these days, so its not even as though the World Cup will be played on foreign soil for many of them.
Still, despite all of this, New Zealand has been silent. Why do you think that is England?
New Zealand knows, after being handed lesson after lesson in many sporting contests, that you do not under any circumstances give any Australian team any motivation. Its like one of the ten commandments that the Rugby League, Rugby Union, Soccer, Netball, Basketball and Cricket teams all abide by.
Just look back to last November as Australia and New Zealand were about to face off in a one off Test match. The then NZRL CEO Andrew Chalmers said “I think they’re vulnerable and we’re going to find out how tough they are.”.
New Zealand collectively winced, shook their heads and hoped Australia weren’t paying attention.
The 58-0 scoreline suggest Australia read the quote at some point.
And this brings me back to what we are hearing out of England. Its nothing short of motivation. Every single quote just feuls a fire that is already a raging inferno.
Australia has a deep seeded drive to win. Win at all costs, die trying, and if you lose, don;t bother coming back home. Its a country that doesn’t need outside motivation to head into the World Cup at its best, bristling with talent, confidence and the knowledge that if the team hits its straps, not even God himself could stop them racking up a big scoreline.
I can think if fewer worse things in the World then to question the heart of a Queenslander. The suggestion that all the talent Queensland possessed on Wednesday night was “in real danger of losing to a much less terrifying NSW team who matched the Maroons for 75 minutes” is to overlook that the New South Wales was probably the fittest, most athletic representative side ever fielded and the speed of their defensive line was nothing short of mind blowing.
To suggest that the efforts of a 19 year old Israel Folau, playing in the toughest sporting contest in the world, have been matched by the likes of Ade Gardner in his efforts against the likes of Wakefield, Hull and Huddersfield is nothing short of ignorant.
Of course there is always some Australian over there willing to throw English fans a bone, and funnily enough they always seems to be people that are employed to coach English clubs on a long term basis.
This time it was St Helens bound Mick Potter who said this week “It’s going to be a pretty interesting competition, that World Cup – that’s a pretty competent England squad, and I’ll be interested to see how they and New Zealand go against Australia.”.
The English took this to mean that they are going to take the title from Australia and come home to a sea of Red and White. Everyone else took this as “The Island teams will be fun to watch, but Australia will win it”.
Still, the Poms won’t have any of it. They will talk down Australia as they watch 32 of our best players put on a brilliant display of Rugby League. At the same time they will relentlessly talk up the chances of England based on nothing more than hope and a false sense that they are the only team heading into the World Cup that wants to do well.
Unless someone within the English Rugby League ranks puts a lid on things, England won’t just be in for a rude shock come the World Cup, they will be blasted from the field by an Australia side that will be at its very best.
Personally, as an Australian, I hope the Poms ride a wave of false hope right up to Bondi beach, because I’m going to see that wave crash against a continent thats ready to destroy all comers.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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