THEY ARE underdogs to win the World Cup, but Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall expects England to create some shocks in the global tournament which begins in 13 days’ time.
England are settling into a training camp in Perth ahead of a warm-up game against Affiliated States next Friday.
They face Australia in the World Cup’s opening game in Melbourne a week later.
England/Great Britain haven’t beaten the Aussies since 2006 and under-performed in last year’s home Four Nations when they failed to reach the final.
That was their first campaign under Wayne Bennett and Hall – a Grand Final winner with Leeds a week ago – believes they will be better for the extra time under the world’s best coach.
“We’re into the second year now with Wayne and we all get him a bit more,” Hall insisted.
“We understand where he’s coming from a little bit more, have the experience we had last year and seen some new faces in over the last 12 months which is good to see keep things fresh.”
Hanging on to the ball will be England’s priority, according to Hall.
“Wayne has talked about errors and cutting them out,” he said.
“I think we only have to go back a few days to the Grand Final.
“Castleford were brilliant all year, but they just made so many errors in the game.
“The ball was wet, we know that, but still it’s one of the fundamentals of rugby.
“You can’t spill the ball.”
Hall and centre Kallum Watkins are the only Leeds players in Bennett’s World Cup squad.
The 29-year-old has scored 32 tries in as many Tests and is a proven performer at international level, but admitted he feared he might not make the cut this year.
Greg Eden scored 41 tries for Castleford in 2017 and St Helens’ Tommy Makinson and Joe Burgess of Wigan were others pressing for a place in the touring party.
Asked if he worried about being left out, Hall said: “Yes, every day – seriously.
“You can never predict where you will end up at the end of the season.
“You can only hope for the best.
“I have to perform on the field the best I can to get an England shirt and in terms of scoring tries it probably hasn’t been the best this year.”
Hall touched down 14 times in 34 games for Leeds this term, but stressed: “It’s not about that.
“It’s about all the other things that go into the game for a modern-day winger.
“You’re more like a forward than a winger now.
“Even back in 2009 when I ended up top try-scorer I always deflected that straight away as I knew that wasn’t the important thing.
“It was about providing something for my team, not being just someone on the end of things.”
With only two wingers in the 24-man squad – Huddersfield Giants’ Jermaine McGillvary being the other – Hall is virtually guaranteed a Test place.
“It is good from a peace of mind point of view,” he added.
“A lot of the time there is a cloud over your head – am I playing this week, am I not playing? Things like that.
“With just me and Jerry there as wingers it’s good he has shown real confidence in us being the only two in the squad.”