Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

England Collapse to Early Setback ; McNamara's Men Have No Answer to Aussie Power in Disappointing Start to World Cup

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

England Collapse to Early Setback ; McNamara's Men Have No Answer to Aussie Power in Disappointing Start to World Cup

Article excerpt

COACH Steve McNamara could be on his bike after the World Cup if England once again fail to deliver.

The under-fire boss has already suffered the humiliation and indignation of losing to Italy in their warm-up game.

And, although Saturday's World Cup opener at the Millennium Stadium was better, England simply had no answer to Australia when they stepped on the gas to make it a bad few days for McNamara.

The defeat came at the end of a week that saw Salford's Gareth Hock sent home for drinking and oversleeping and McNamara storm out of a pre-match press conference when his team selection was questioned. He appeared to have exorcised his demons when a two-try blast gave England a dream start against the Aussies, but the joy was short-lived as the competition favourites claimed an opening win.

"Things could have been so much better for us," said McNamara. "We started well and were troubling Australia. We then lost our way and gave awa1y too many penalties. You simply cannot do that at this level.

"We got a lot of positives from it, but there is a real sense of frustration that we didn't quite go on and finish the job off.

"I've always thought we have a team that is capable of potentially winning this competition if it concentrates and plays to its best, and it has to do that in every game."

It's a familiar riposte from an England coach but his team again lacked the power and clinical clout to build on a great start after tries from Ryan Hall and Leroy Cudjoe.

The Kangaroos' Johnathan Thurston, Greg Bird and Billy Slater all scored tries to turn the tide and take the game away from England.

And even though George Burgess and Josh Charnley scored secondhalf tries for England, who missed James Graham's power up front and the industry of injured Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin, Brett Morris and Darius Boyd struck for the Aussies to wrap-up the contest. …

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