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Four Nations final preview
At Elland Road, Saturday November 19, kick-off 6pm
England will be looking to ruin Darren Lockyer's farewell party when they take on Australia in the Four Nations final on Saturday.
The last two standing in the tournament will both be desperate to lift the trophy for differing reasons in a repeat of the 2009 final, a game played at the same Elland Road venue that saw the Kangaroos run out 46-16 winners.
For the hosts it is all about revenge, not only for that heavy loss in Leeds but also for a 36-20 defeat at Wembley a fortnight ago.
However their performance in the last meeting has raised hopes of a first series triumph over the Kangaroos since the 1972 World Cup.
"We were bigger underdogs in 2009," said Sam Tomkins, who was at stand-off in 2009 but now finds himself plying his trade at full-back.
"We probably thought we didn't have much chance of beating them but this year we're a lot more confident. We feel we've got the team and the plan to beat them."
Tomkins admits the Wembley game has given Steve McNamara's side plenty of food for thought, particularly when it comes to discipline.
"We can take a lot of positives out of that," the Wigan Warrior added. "We competed for a long period of time.
"The way the Aussies got us towards the end was down to mistakes of our own. They didn't force too much on us.
"It was silly penalties or bad decisions and we've been working this week to minimise those errors and mistakes."
While England want to end a miserable run of results against their arch rivals Australia are aiming to send their legendary captain out on a high.
Lockyer, 34, will be playing for the last time in the famous green and gold shirt, though even he admits that he has contemplated finishing his stellar career on a losing note.
"Every game you fear failure," he said. "We're just preparing as well as we can to give it our best performance and the outcome looks after itself.
"You've got to be prepared for defeat, it's a chance of happening."
His team have managed three wins from three so far on the tour but will be wary of history repeating itself - they did the same last year too, only to then be shocked by New Zealand in a pulsating final at Suncorp Stadium.
"We fell short last year and the last time we won was at this ground so we've got some good memories here," said hooker Cameron Smith.
"We've probably got a little bit more to play for than that trophy. It's our captain's last game and we've got a lot riding on this game.
"We can't approach this match thinking about that and wanting to win it for him. It's about every one of Australia's players going out to do their best for their team and for their country.
"If we do that we give ourselves an opportunity of doing well."
Smith skippered the side against Wales last Sunday at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham as Lockyer was rested.
Tony Williams is available again this week after serving a one-match ban and coach Tim Sheens faces a tough call over who to pick on the wing, with Jharal Yow Yeh and Josh Morris battling it out for one berth.
Willie Tonga and Billy Slater are both ruled out through injury but Anthony Watmough and Chris Lawrence should overcome shoulder problems.
England, meanwhile, are set to welcome back Gareth Ellis to their pack. The back-rower missed the win over New Zealand through injury but should come straight in to the starting XIII. Garreth Carvell - who took Ellis' place in the 17-man squad against the Kiwis - is the obvious option to make way.
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|Gillette Four Nations|
|Saturday 15th November|
|New Zealand 22 - 18 Australia|
|Sunday 9th November|
|Australia 44 - 18 Samoa|
|Saturday 8th November|
|New Zealand 16 - 14 England|
|Sunday 2nd November|
|Australia 16 - 12 England|
|Saturday 1st November|
|New Zealand 14 - 12 Samoa|
|Saturday 25th October|
|Australia 12 - 30 New Zealand|
|England 32 - 26 Samoa|
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