England head coach Steve McNamara has revealed he will be at Headingley tonight to take a first hand look at their opponents for the upcoming three-match Test series, as New Zealand face Super League champions Leeds.
McNamara’s men take on France at Leigh tomorrow in a one-off Test, but the coach will be in attendance in Leeds tonight to see the world’s number one ranked side take on the treble-winners in front of a huge crowd at Headingley.
“We’ll go take a look at them on Friday,” revealed McNamara at the launch of the three-match series in Manchester yesterday.
“It’s going to be a good game; we’re hearing it’s a sell-out, plenty of tickets have been sold and as we’re playing them next week (at Hull FC) it’ll be good to take a look at their make-up on Friday night. We need to work hard of course – you only get success if you work hard.”
McNamara believes that the England side are improving year on year ahead of the series, and says that the new structure introduced into the domestic leagues this year has helped England prepare better than ever before.
“We’ve progressed well, but have just been agonisingly short. That’s what it’s like at international level,” he said.
“Those games should be going down to the last minute, or depending on whether someone touches the ball down or not, as has been the case the last two years. That’s what Test matches are all about, and we’ve put ourselves in a strong position to progress forward.
“The change to Super League has hopefully changed things; I watched the Grand Final and the balance of play was so close right until the end.
“For me, our players who play in the NRL are exposed to that quality of play on a weekly basis. Super League has proved it on occasions, but players playing in it over here more regularly can really help our progression as a group.”