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England coach Steve McNamara positive despite defeat

Uncharacteristic errors cost us - McNamara

England coach Steve McNamara is sure his young team will be better for the experience of Sunday's 34-14 Four Nations defeat by Australia.

Australia scored six tries in response to England's two and were worthy winners in rain-soaked Melbourne.

"We came here with the sole intention of winning this competition, but it's also about making ourselves stronger for the future," said McNamara.

"I certainly think we've made some strides forward in this tournament."

England's defeat means they will now play Papua New Guinea next Saturday to avoid the wooden spoon while Australia will meet New Zealand in the final group game later that day before facing them again in the final a week later.

"This team has an average age of 24, the captain (James Graham) is only 25, the other starting frontrower (Sam Burgess) is only 21 and the outside backs probably only have 10 caps between them," added McNamara.


England undid their promising start by turning over the ball at crucial times with at least three of their errors leading to Australian tries.

McNamara believed his young side physically imposed themselves on the Kangaroos and, apart from their errors, there was not a lot between his men and the defending Four Nations champions.

"Physically our forwards, our middle, were outstanding in what they did, I thought there was a whole lot of effort in terms of that," he said.

England 'disappointed' with Aussie loss

"There was some frustration from some of our players because some know they can perform a little bit better than what they did on occasion there."

Prop Sam Burgess, who scored one try and had another disallowed, was one of the stand-outs but he blamed basic errors for their defeat.

"I'm disappointed with the way it turned out," said Burgess, one of the stars of Australia's National Rugby League with South Sydney.

"There was a lot of effort out there but we gave ourselves too much to do.

"I thought we started well, probably well enough to win the game," added Burgess.

England made a couple of fundamental errors. If they gift us field position, we're generally going to hurt them

Australia coach Tim Sheens

"I made a couple (of errors) myself which was disappointing. In the second 20 (minutes) in the first half we made too many errors in the tackle count.

"I'm thoroughly disappointed, I thought we'd have had a better crack than that."

Australia coach Tim Sheens had some sympathy for England, who were without a host of players through injury and unavailability.

He singled out sidelined captain Adrian Morley and St Helens scrum-half Kyle Eastwood as particularly severe losses for the tourists.

"It's difficult for England," he said. "They're out here with nowhere near their best squad and England have to have their best squad available.

"They missed the young fella from St Helens and losing Morley early and having a number of other players unavailable does not help England.

"England made a couple of fundamental errors. If they gift us field position, we're generally going to hurt them."

Win fails to cheer Aussie coach

Sheens was critical of his side's defence and said New Zealand would be "licking their lips" ahead of their meeting next week.

"I'm concerned about how easy England walked through us in the middle," he said. "New Zealand will be licking their lips at some of our defence.

"Their first try was so easy, it wasn't funny. We are going to have to be a lot better than that."

Both Sheens and skipper Darren Lockyer were critical of Australian referee Tony Archer for allowing a slow play-the-ball which reduced the game as a spectacle.

"It was a good two or three seconds longer than we're used to in the NRL," said Lockyer.

"We're in the final, that's a positive, but there's a lot of guys in there not feeling great about things. The conditions played a part but, at the same time, we can do better."

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see also
Australia 34-14 England
31 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Lockyer not happy with Aussie display
31 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
England need Aussie experience
31 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Australia v England as it happened
31 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Trio set to make England debuts
29 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
England await stern Melbourne examination
29 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
N Zealand 76-12 Papua New Guinea
30 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
New Zealand 24-10 England
23 Oct 10 |  Rugby League

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