England boss Wayne Bennett defended the decision to play in Australia in the middle of the Super League season after his team defeated Samoa 30-10 in their World Cup warm-up game on Saturday.
Half-backs Kevin Brown and Luke Gale kept England in control throughout the first half, with Sam Burgess, James Graham and Jermaine McGillvary also impressing.
Prolific winger Ryan Hall gave his side a dream start, taking skipper Sean O’Loughlin’s cut-out pass to maintain his remarkable scoring rate of a try a game on his 32nd Test appearance.
A 30th-minute penalty from Gale stretched their advantage, before a decision to run the ball from in front of the posts five minutes before the break paid off when Stefan Ratchford took Gale’s pass to cross for England’s second try.
Gale’s third goal made it 14-0, but Samoa briefly threatened a comeback when Joseph Leilua forced his way over for a try early in the second half.
Josh Hodgson soon extended England’s lead, although Samoa refused to lie down as Anthony Milford brought them back into it.
However, England always looked in control and Brown capped an impressive individual performance by sending James Graham over for only his second try in 33 games and producing a smart kick for McGillvary to bag his fifth in just six appearances.
In the post-match press conference Bennett said the game was the perfect preparation for the World Cup later this year.
“It was a tough game of football,” he said. “We got challenged a fair bit and we worked hard to get the result we got, that’s what we’re here for. We won’t get better watching the other nations play.
“I’m not worried about the critics. If I was, I would have left the game a long time ago.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to do anything, but they picked up from where they left off.
“From the team that I left in November last year to the team I saw here tonight, there is a lot of confidence in the group and confidence in individuals within the team.”