Wayne’s new world order
Pom legend Adrian Morley says Bennett can take England to the top
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.