Rugby League World Cup: Steve McNamara frustrated as England lose opener
Steve McNamara cut a frustrated figure after watching England surrender an excellent start to Australia in Cardiff.
Last Updated: 27/10/13 1:02pm
The co-hosts were quickly out of the blocks in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium as tries from Ryan Hall and Leroy Cudjoe opened up a ten-point advantage.
Johnathan Thurston's close-range try reduced the arrears before two scores before half time from Greg Bird and the elusive Billy Slater turned the game on its head.
Darius Boyd's try after the break made it a bridge too far for England, although they were able to score second-half four-pointers through George Burgess and Josh Charnley.
McNamara was unhappy England squandered an excellent start, particularly after they coughed up possession cheaply, while penalties also hurt the home side.
"We are frustrated," said McNamara. "We started the game superbly and played with some great energy with the ball, but we gifted a lot of possession to the opposition and gave a lot of penalties away.
"We were sat there thinking and wondering what could have been and what maybe should have been if we had been a little bit cleaner in those areas.
"We know how good Australia are, and we knew we had to be at our best, or near our best, to win that game. We just fell a little bit short.
"At the start of the second-half, when they (Australia) scored three minutes in, the boys showed tremendous courage to defend the try-line, go to the other end and go to within six points again with less than 20 minutes to go.
"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."
It was a fractured week for England off the field following Gareth Hock's axe, while James Graham's non selection provided more questions than answers for McNamara, however, he was still confident coming into the contest.
"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," he added.
"We were a bit off today. We gave far too many penalties away and gave up some field position quite easily, but every time we got to the right end of the field we seemed to trouble Australia.
"We just never gave ourselves enough chances to be at the right end of the field. In terms of being at our best, we weren't quite there."
England captain Kevin Sinfield vowed that his team would bounce back, starting with next Saturday's clash against Ireland.
"The group we have got is going to get better, a whole lot better," the Leeds Rhinos star said.
"We have a strong squad, and if we are good enough over the next couple of weeks, hopefully we will get another shot at Australia.
"Whichever route we go on in this tournament there are going to be obstacles in our way. We are ready to roll our sleeves up and work as hard as we can, and hopefully get the result next week.
"We've got a fantastic group, not only the players, but the staff. We have worked very hard for this. We have been beaten today, but we certainly won't throw the towel in.
"There are some tough games in front of us, but we are ready to rip into training again and make sure we turn up again next Saturday."