Rugby League: 'They came up trumps'

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MALCOLM REILLY, the Great Britain coach, said that Australia had prevailed because they exploited the chances that came their way. 'They made more yards than us and when they got good position they came up trumps,' Reilly said. 'If we had been able to break them earlier it would have spurred us on.

'I don't think the pressure got to us. We've tried all week to give the players the message that it was just another game and just another ground and that they only had to play to the best of their ability.

'That's what they were trying to do but we were met by a team with more power in the forwards. We need more bulk, more power and more size.'

The Great Britain captain, Garry Schofield, said: 'I took a knock on my knee but that is not what is hurting most. There is not much between the sides and I think that showed in the end. But we're not making excuses.

'We were well beaten by a very good side and worthy world champions. We are bitterly disappointed but there are a lot of positive things we can take from this series. We've got to use those things to prepare for the World Cup final in October.'

Phil Clarke, the Great Britain loose forward, said: 'We played very badly. They stepped up a gear and it doesn't matter that the final score was close. I think we've still got a lot to do.'

Martin Offiah did not believe that scoring his try earlier in the game would necessarily have made the difference. 'We were just rubbish,' he said.

Bob Fulton, the Australian coach, said: 'We got the field position for three freakish players, Langer, Daley and Meninga, to do what only they can do.

'A 20-point gap would have been a fairer reflection, but it could be quite different at Wembley.'

Mal Meninga, the Australian captain, was understandably 'very relieved that we have achieved our goal'. He added: 'I've been under enormous pressure not to become the first captain for 22 years to lose an Ashes series.'

Ken Arthurson, the executive chairman of the Australian Rugby League, paid tribute to a marvellous occasion. 'Not even State of Origin could match the atmosphere tonight,' he said. 'We will have a record international crowd for the World Cup final at Wembley in October.'