England still have work to do

OK, so a win’s a win. But it was by far the England performance that the players – and the fans – wanted to see.nnNot only that, but England have now given Australia and New Zealand some ammunition to take a few pot shots and also prepare for their respective ties against Papua New Guinea.nnI know it’s only the first game and that it’s by no means over yet. It’s definitely true the heat plays a part but the English boys have to adjust quickly to the conditions and learn to be more talkative.nnFair play to Papua New Guinea. They hit England hard, throwing themselves about and showing tremendous commitment to each other and the cause.nnWhat I did find disappointing was England’s ability to give away needless penalties, something which probably contributed to over half of the Kumuls’ points tally.nnAttacking wise, England can have no complaints. They played some good stuff at times, but they just need to calm down. Too many times they threw the ball around needlessly risking the chances of interception or stupid errors. We need to be more patient in our approach, and that’s something I’m sure Tony Smith will have said at half-time.nnDefensively: some work to be done. For New Guinea’s las try one of the English lads could have prevented a try, but instead moved out of the way for New Guinea’s Aiton to sail through and score. You cannot do that at this level. England got punished and rightly so.nnBut the evergreen Stanley Gene needs a large amount of praise for his performance. He led like a trojan, and Gene, coupled with Neville Costigan provided the attacking nouse needed to ensure New Guinea weren’t going to get trounced.nnGene, 34 or 64 – nobody knows – was switched from loose-forward to stand-off at the last minute and it paid dividends for coach Adrian Lam.nnI’m sure Hull KR coach Justin Morgan will be keeping an eye out for his boys during these games, and Gene will have impressed him no-ends. If you’ve still got it, age doesn’t matter.nnSo it’s a big all-round applause for Papua New Guinea, but certainly a big reality check for England as they prepare for hosts Australia.nnThe Aussies will not be scared after watching that, and them along with New Zealand, now have the ammunition – as previously mentioned – to have a massive advantage over England.nnThey now know what the English weaknesses are, as well as how to thwart the attack as well. Not only that, they also know how to deal with New Guinea and with points scored difference applicable, it could be important for England.nnKeep the faith, I say. Come on England!

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