England’s all-time leading appearance maker James Graham believes that success in this year’s Four Nations could be the ideal springboard to next year’s World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Graham insists that the sport in this country has been “starved of success” for too long, and says he firmly believes that, under the stewardship of Wayne Bennett, England can finally claim a major tournament this year at the expense of the Kangaroos, the Kiwis and Scotland.
He told TotalRL: “The Four Nations, it’s massive. “English rugby league has been starved of success for a long, long time now.
“We had a Test series win against New Zealand in 2007 and last year, but to win a major tournament will be huge. I’ve had the belief in the past but I now firmly believe we can contend for a major trophy this year.”
Graham also hopes that the support for this year’s tournament mirrors that of recent years, admitting he’s been hugely encouraged by the crowds he’s seen at some England games in the last three years.
“It’s a real honour every time you pull the shirt on – and people really flock to the games,” he said.
“We had a near-full Olympic Stadium last year, and the support at the DW Stadium for the deciding Test was just fantastic.
“I think back to the semi-final at Wembley against New Zealand too: that’s the best support I’ve ever seen. Hopefully the crowds get behind us again because us guys over here (in the NRL), we miss the real fan support that you have in England.”