Lee Radford: People are tired of Australia’s Rugby League World Cup glory

Samoa’s assistant coach Lee Radford believes people are “pretty sick” of watching Australia win the Rugby League World Cup.

The Kangaroos have won the eight of the last nine tournaments and the holders will face Samoa in Saturday’s final at Old Trafford.

This will be Samoa’s first final and even though they knocked England out in an epic, golden point semi-final, Radford expects the home crowd to put their allegiance towards the underdogs. 

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re pretty sick of seeing Australia win it,” said Englishman Radford, who is also head coach of the Castleford Tigers.

“I think what you will have on Saturday is a lot of English support and hopefully this little nation in the Pacific can cause an upset.

“What’s in front of us is a team with probably five or six of the best players in the world in their position.

“So for us to get a result at the weekend we’ve got to be at our absolute best, our execution has got to be as good as it’s been throughout the competition.”

Samoa reached the final after an exhilarating, full-blooded semi-final victory over hosts England, where Stephen Crichton’s drop-kick in golden point sealed the victory.

But that 27-26 victory highlighted a remarkable turnaround for Samoa who got humiliated by England 60-6 in the tournament’s opening fixture.

Radford said: “After the first game against England, the response was pretty unique.

“It took me by surprise how quickly we forgot about it. By the time we got on the bus, it was done and dusted so the response from that has been fantastic.

“We’ve grown as a group in every game since and hopefully we can peak on Saturday.”

One man Samoa will put their hopes on is full-back Joseph Sua’ali’i, who is widely regarded as one of the best youngsters in the game and has left a big impression on Radford.

He added: “I think his talents are obviously there to see on a weekend but how he is in and around the place is pretty special for a 19-year-old kid.

“To have the growth mindset that he’s got is pretty phenomenal and he’s a very receptive kid to coach as well, which sometimes you don’t often get with people that age.

“But he’s got that confidence and he’s got that aura around him – he’s really willing to learn as well.”

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