The Great Britain coach, David Waite, has dismissed the verdict of his French counterpart that Australia will win the first Test next month by 50 points. Despite losing 42-12 to the British side, Gilles Dumas predicted that they would struggle against the Kangaroos.
"I hope Great Britain beat Australia, because it would be good for rugby league, but it will be very hard," he said. ''When they were under pressure against us, they made mistakes. Against the Kangaroos, it may be 50 points."
Waite was not discouraged by that assessment. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion," he said. "But I find it strange when he doesn't know who will be on the field against Australia."
Waite says that his own picture of his line-up for Huddersfield on 11 November will be clearer after completing his post-match analysis from the French game. He and his backroom team were at the League's headquarters in Leeds yesterday, dissecting the match video and statistics and preparing the feed-back for the players that is an essential part of his coaching technique.
The squad fly out to La Manga in Spain today for a week's warm-weather training, hopefully with Adrian Morley cleared to play in the first Test. The British camp are waiting for Morley's Australian club, Sydney City, to study X-rays of his arm injury to rule on whether the break has healed sufficiently.
With or without their first-choice second-rower, Britain will work on some different combinations in Spain, notably around the dummy-half positions, where two specialist back-rowers, Kevin Sinfield and Mike Forshaw, divided most of the work between them in Agen.
Sinfield drew particular praise for his efforts in an unfamiliar role. "But that is no surprise to me, because he has all the skills required of a modern day dummy-half," said Waite. The British coach is not surprised either that Australia will travel with only 21 players, having chosen not to replace injured men. "I always thought they would rely on flexibility and versatility," he said.
The Australian coach, Chris Anderson, has stepped up his squad's training, leading up to their departure next weekend. "It's important that we get some heavy work into them to overcome some of the disruptions we have had," he said. The Kangaroos will be training twice a day until they fly out and they will have less than a week – and no warm-up match – to prepare for their first outing at the McAlpine Stadium, where Waite will be hoping to catch them under-prepared.Reuse content