Wigan Warriors and England winger Josh Charnley believes that his side can record a rare win over World Cup holders Australia in the Rugby League Four Nations on Sunday in Melbourne.
England’s last win over Australia was in the 1995 World Cup at Wembley Stadium, although the side did beat the Kangaroos in the 2006 Tri-Nations Series in Sydney when competing as Great Britain.
The Chorley-born try machine is in high spirits ahead of the match against an Australia side in transition after their 16-match winning streak was ended with a 30-12 defeat to New Zealand last week.
He said: “To knock the Aussies out on their own soil would be great. We’re really looking forward to it.
“We watched a bit of their game at the stadium on Saturday, it was a big, physical game.
“They’ve had a few players pull out of this tournament but our squad is young too with fresh faces in.”
Charnley picked up his sixth cap as England overcame a resilient Samoa team 32-26 in their tournament opener.
He said: “Samoa came out firing in that first 20 minutes and we hung in there, I think we’ll need to do the same again this weekend though.
“It was a tough game, definitely a battle, we just wanted to get the win to get us going and that’s what we were able to do.
“The [hot] conditions were very different to what we are used to but we’ve been here a week now and train at the times of the games so we’ve adapted.”
England coach Steve McNamara named an unchanged side for this weekend’s game but left the door open for his captain Sean O’Loughlin to return after a quad muscle injury ruled him out against Samoa.
He said: “Sean O’Loughlin is definitely improving and we will continue to monitor him throughout this week.
“It is really difficult to name a team earlier in the week as a few of our blokes haven’t been able to train fully.”
Scrum-half Matty Smith, also of Wigan, has been declared fit after recovering from a knock last week though McNamara believes club teammate O’Loughlin should also play.
He said: “He’s confident, he’s trained well this week. He’s our captain and he’s an important player for us. Hopefully Sean can lead us out on Sunday, we want him out there on the field.
“Having him back, plus the likes of James Graham with Sam and Joel Tomkins playing in that middle – it’s a pretty big pack.”
England will qualify for the final of the competition with victory over Australia on Sunday, however fans will have to be up early for the 5.00am kick off with coverage beginning from 4.30am.
Main image courtesy of Super League TV via YouTube, with thanks.