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Plenty to play for

Performance is the key for England

Papua New Guinea Posted 5th November 2010 view comments

This may be a dead rubber in terms of the Four Nations but England still have a lot to play for.

A loss against Papua New Guinea would be the worst way to end a very disappointing campaign for Steve McNamara's men. But I would be very surprised if that happens.

Australia put 42 points on them and New Zealand 76 and while that does not mean that we will do the same - England still have to concentrate. England must not forget the lessons they learnt in 2008 when the Kumuls almost beat them.

James Graham: leading from the front

James Graham: leading from the front

It has been a long and disappointing tour for England but they cannot afford to think about anything else but this game. Returning home to loved ones and for a well-earned rest must be put aside for the time being.

McNamara has made seven changes as they try to avoid ending up with the wooden spoon with centre Tony Clubb and Warrington prop Garreth Carvell making their first appearances of the tour.

It has been a long and disappointing tour for England but they cannot afford to think about anything else but this game. Returning home to loved ones and for a well earned rest must be put aside for the time being.

Stevo
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I am pleased that Sam Tomkins retains the fullback berth - I understand why McNamara tried him at stand-off but I think his best position is at fullback where he can do the most harm.

The forwards are going to need to step up. I've been disappointed that they have lacked that go-forward in the last two games. Our forwards have always been our big strength and they have always prided themselves in their toughness and their ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone. Let's see them give it one big push against the Kumuls.

James Graham needs to lead the charge and give the likes of James Roby the opportunity to make those sniping runs of his. Smash them up front and then get the ball outwide as quickly as possible.

One player who has impressed me is Luke Robinson - he's not the biggest player out there, but he's all heart and has been involved in everything that England have done well.

Papua New Guinea will have done their homework on England and have got five British-based players in their team. However this is amateurs against professionals and England should be fitter, stronger and have better skills then their counterparts.

They have no injuries from last week - but the mental scars and the amount of tackling they had to do could tell as this game goes on.

This is a game that Stanley Gene will really target. He knows England will be disappointed by their performances so if his side can catch them cold and cause some damage early on, they really are the underdogs though but even the smallest of dogs can bite.

Star player

James Graham: As I said the forwards really have to control this game and that starts with the skipper. They need to hammer the PNG forwards every which way they can and cause maximum damage.

Stevo says

This is a very young England side - let's not forget that. They have learnt some lessons from the Aussies and the Kiwis and I expect them to put those lessons into action. England should win this at a canter - they really should and I will be horrified if they don't. But a win is not what they will be looking for - they will want the performance that can give them confidence and bode well for the future.

Comments (1)

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George Macpherson (leeds rhinos fan) says...

Your right Stevo we still have to improve but we will still be able to beat PNG. But now they should start looking to have a 3rd 4th play off to reveal the winner of the bottom two teams. This is due to the Australia New Zealand doiminance in the sort of sport tourniment.

Posted 17:30 5th November 2010

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