England coach Wayne Bennett has suggested that he is more concerned with how England play in their World Cup opener against Australia next week as opposed to the result.
Bennett has admitted that the focus for his side in their first game of the tournament is to ensure they play well against the reigning holders, so that if they face them in the final, they will be confident they can get a result.
Bennett, who was speaking to OuRLeague, the new RFL membership subscription service launched this week, said the priority was the performance, not the result.
“We’re not worried about the result, the emphasis will be on how we play and what we can manage against them, making sure we’re competitive all night,” he said.
“If we get beaten by a few points, well that will give us confidence to go onto the next stage, and if we get to play a final five weeks later, that’s when you want to be at your best.”
Bennett also revealed that he took advice from assistant coaches Denis Betts, Paul Anderson, Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens before finalising his squad.
They all pitched their squads to the coach before he picked his own, and he said that all five of them were close to agreeing on the same group of players.
“The four coaches gave me their teams and we were pretty much all on the same page,” said Bennett. “We’ve got a very good balance, some very experienced players and some on the way up.”
Bennett also revealed why he opted for the two uncapped players in his squad: Warrington’s Ben Currie and St Helens’ Alex Walmsley.
He said: “Ben had a pretty ordinary season in one sense because he’s not played many games but we all know what he can bring and I was keen to have him here. He should have been in the Four Nations but he got injured just before the start.
“Alex has been on the fringe. I looked at him last year and he’s a better player this year.”