Great Britain legend Mal Reilly OBE believes that England have a great chance to beat Australia in Melbourne in the Four Nations on Sunday.
A weakened Australia were convincingly beaten by New Zealand at the weekend, and face being eliminated from any chance of making the competition’s final if they lose to England.
“Australia couldn’t cope with New Zealand at the weekend, they do have a few players out but they are still a force to be reckoned with,” said Reilly.
“England do not have the best track record against Australia but I believe they have a good chance to start to change that on Sunday.
“Australia are not as dominating as they have been in previous tournaments and England have a quality side who have the best opportunity in recent years to make it to the final.
“It will be a big challenge but I believe they have what it takes to do the preparation and get it together for the weekend, if they go into the game with a positive attitude, they can beat Australia.”
Reilly is well-known Down Under, having spent spells as a player and a coach there. He was impressed by what he saw of England in their win over Samoa in the first round of Four Nations matches.
“I think England played extremely well at the weekend, Samoa are an under-rated side but England got it together and got the result, which was crucial,” he added.
“They can also learn a lot from that performance. These sorts of games don’t come around often and it’s not like in the league when there’s always next week: they must focus and concentrate for the full 80 minutes.
“Steve McNamara has put together an impressive team and I think they have a lot of self-belief. I’m sure they will go into the game against Australia full of pride.”