Wayne’s new world or­der

Pom leg­end Adrian Mor­ley says Ben­nett can take Eng­land to the top

Rugby League Week - - News - BY PHIL WILKIN­SON

BRI­TISH BULL­DOG ADRIAN Mor­ley has anointed Wayne Ben­nett as the man who can fi­nally break Aus­tralia’s stran­gle­hold over the long­suf­fer­ing Poms.

Eng­land haven’t beaten the Green and Gold in a com­pe­ti­tion since 1972 – and Roost­ers leg­end Mor­ley reck­ons that 44-year bar­ren run is poised to come to an end.

Two years ago they nar­rowly lost Four Na­tions matches against the Kangaroos (by four points) and New Zealand (two points).

But they top­pled the Ki­wis by 2-1 in a se­ries on home soil last year and Mor­ley reck­ons the ap­point­ment of Ben­nett will pro­pel them to world dom­i­nance.

“If there’s any coach who’s go­ing to take them to the next level, it’s Wayne,” Mor­ley tells RLW.

“He’s got an aura about him, his track record is in­cred­i­ble, and the play­ers I’ve known who’ve been in­volved with him all can’t speak highly enough of him.

“Aus­tralia and New Zealand have got for­mi­da­ble sides, and in the past we’ve just not quite been good enough. But we’ve been get­ting very, very close.

“We beat the Ki­wis in a se­ries last year and we pushed Aus­tralia and New Zealand all the way in the last Four Na­tions.

“With Wayne com­ing in, I’m con­fi­dent they can go all the way.”

Ben­nett gath­ered his squad in Lon­don last week­end ahead of a warm-up Test against France in Avi­gnon this Sun­day, and the Bris­bane supremo ad­mits match­ing the bat­tle­hard­ened Aus­tralians is a huge task.

“The big ad­van­tage Aus­tralia have got is that they’ve all come out of State of Ori­gin,” says Ben­nett. “So they’ve played to­gether and against each other in big games – but that’s a stan­dard we have to get our­selves to.

“And New Zealand could have two full packs out there, such is the depth of their squad. But the good news is that they can only play one pack at a time.”

Through­out Ben­nett’s coach­ing ca­reer he’s seen English teams fall off in the fi­nal few min­utes of Tests – and he’s now put a big em­pha­sis on com­pet­ing un­til the fi­nal sec­ond.

“The aim for us is to get our­selves to a stan­dard where we can match the other two,” he says. “If we can do that, then who knows what hap­pens af­ter that.

“We’ve got to make our­selves com­pet­i­tive and if we stay in the game

“Wayne’s got an aura about him” – Adrian Mor­ley

– for 80 min­utes, too, not 60 or 70 – that’s my chal­lenge.” Mean­while, Ben­nett has rub­bished sug­ges­tions Su­per League play­ers suf­fer from a busier sched­ule than their NRL coun­ter­parts. “Play­ers in the UK have played over 30 games, yes, but in the NRL you’ve got guys with at least 30,” he points out. “There’s Ori­gin, three play­offs, pre-sea­son, Auck­land Nines and things like that... plus a Test in the mid­dle of the year. “But ev­ery­one gets well­paid today, don’t for­get. You can’t get paid that level of money and have a 16-round sea­son – it just wouldn’t hap­pen.”

NO LAPSES! A big part of Ben­nett’s plans for the Poms is get­ting them to stay in the game for the full 80 min­utes.

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