McNamara names unchanged side to face Australia in Four Nations
England coach Steve McNamara has named an unchanged side to face Australia in the second match of the Four Nations, as they attempt to dump the world champions out of the tournament and progress to the final.
Unsurprisingly, England are outsiders for the clash and have odds of 5/2 with Coral to cause an upset. However, Tim Sheens’ side will be hurting after the monumental 30-12 defeat they suffered at the hands of New Zealand last time out, though the coach has called up Newcastle Knights 18-year-old winger Sione Mata’utia. If he plays, Mata’utia, who has odds of 8/1 to score the game’s first try, will beat the record held by Israel Folau as youngest test debutant.
McNamara, though, has conceded that injuries may yet force him to make changes for the match.
“A few of our blokes haven’t been able to train fully during the early part of the week,” he said.
“We have named the same 17 as last week [but] even though we have named the same side, there could be a change or two at the back end of the week.”
With injured captain Sean O’Loughlin still recovering from a quad muscle injury, McNamara may have the luxury of being able to name the loose forward in the squad.
“Those that were unable to train are making decent progress. Sean O’Loughlin is definitely improving and we will continue to monitor him throughout this week,” he continued.
“It is really difficult to name a team earlier in the week. A firmer decision will be made towards the weekend, when we arrive in Melbourne.”
Kallum Watkins, who signed a new five-year deal with club Leeds Rhinos this week is sure to be fired up for this match, having got on the scoresheet against Samoa, and is 13/8 to cross the whitewash anytime.
Wrecking ball Ryan Hall seemed to find it difficult to make an impression against the pacific islanders, but should have more luck against a more lightweight opposite number. He is 11/1 to score the first try.
For Australia, star player Greg Inglis will be hoping he stay fit throughout, having spent most of the match against New Zealand in the dressing room, following his try. If the full back does start, England will have their cut out. The South Sydney Rabbitohs talent is 7/1 to put the first four points on the board.
New Zealand, meanwhile will, face an altogether different type of opposition in Samoa, though a win will guarantee them a place in the final. Unsurprisingly, they are overwhelming favourites, odds-on at 1/20, after their outstanding win against Australia, but Samoa gave a good account of themselves against England and the Kiwis will have to be on their guard.