Australia v England: World Cup final talking points
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/12/17 8:53am
England are appearing in their first World Cup final since 1995, hoping to win it for the first time since 1972 - here are five talking points surrounding the eagerly-awaited clash with Australia at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 9am GMT).
Pressure on the hosts
Australian bookmakers are giving England an 18-point start, such is the lack of confidence in the tourists' ability to pull off an upset.
The Kangaroos are not used to having to cope with pressure and, if England can impose themselves as much as they did in their first meeting in Melbourne but this time maintain the intensity for 80 minutes, we will at last see what Mal Meninga's men are made of.
Simply reaching the final has been an achievement for England, who have bridged a 22-year gap, and anything more will be a bonus, while fans of the green and gold may well recall their team going into the 2008 final at the same venue as hot favourites only to be turned over by New Zealand.
Ahead of England's first Rugby League World Cup final in 22 years, we look at five key battles in Brisbane...
Australia have yet to lose under head coach Meninga, who succeeded Tim Sheens after their 2013 World Cup final triumph at Old Trafford, and have won their last 11 World Cup matches - a run going back to their shock defeat by the Kiwis in 2008.
They have not lost to England since the opening game of the 1995 World Cup at Wembley and in this tournament they have conceded an average of just over three points a game. The odds, it seems, are stacked against England.
World's best on the wing
Forwards, so the saying goes, determine the outcome of matches while the backs decide the margin of victory, and while the two packs will attempt to out-muscle each other, most eyes will be on the contest on England's right flank where Jermaine McGillvary will go up against the free-scoring Valentine Holmes.
The Huddersfield flier has scored in each of his country's last 10 matches, including seven in this tournament, but has been eclipsed so far by the Cronulla wing, who followed up his five-try haul against Samoa with a record-breaking six against Fiji.
Grudge match or friendly rivalry?
The clash of the coaches will provide a fascinating sideshow as two of the Queensland greats go up against each other.
Wayne Bennett blasted the Australian Rugby League Commission two years ago when he lost out to Meninga for the Kangaroos job, arguing the process was flawed and that the post ought to be part-time. Meninga, in turn, accused Bennett of undermining him and claimed he was "no friend of mine".
The pair have since put aside their differences but Bennett would love nothing better than to get one over on his home nation, just as he did in 2008 when he helped Steve Kearney's New Zealand upset Australia in the World Cup final at Suncorp.
O'Connor: England have a chance
Terry says England have the players to go out and beat Australia, but must be smart...
Sean O'Loughlin proved indispensable in 2017 for Wigan, who lost all eight Super League games in his absence through injury, and he is just as crucial for his country.
The tough-tackling loose forward, who is also a clever ball distributor, is the glue that binds the team together and it is no coincidence that Wigan's performances go flat when he is brought off for a breather in matches.
O'Loughlin famously recovered from an Achilles injury to lead his club to victory in the 2013 Grand Final and, if he shakes off his quad injury, it will provide his England team-mates with a timely lift in their bid to end a 45-year wait.
Australia: Billy Slater, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Michael Morgan, Cooper Cronk, Aaron Woods, Cameron Smith, David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire.
Wade Graham, Jordan McLean, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Tyson Frizell.
England: Gareth Widdop, Jermaine McGillvary, Kallum Watkins, John Bateman, Ryan Hall, Kevin Brown, Luke Gale, Chris Hill, James Roby, James Graham, Ben Currie, Elliott Whitehead, Sam Burgess.
Alex Walmsley, Thomas Burgess, Chris Heighington, Johnny Lomax.