Today, Ellery Hanley’s Combined Nations lost 18-4 to England as Shaun Wane’s side prepared for the World Cup.
His side made a good account of themselves but were, by his own admission, were second best.
After the game, Hanley reflected on this noting ill-discipline and poor execution as reasons for the defeat.
“If you’re penalised 15 times and only get seven penalties, it’s not the referee’s fault it’s our fault. They were better than us in terms of discipline,” Hanley said of his side’s performance, “You have to transfer what you do on the training paddock onto the field. We just fluffed our lines at the last bus stop. We could have made the game much closer. We had our opportunities and didn’t take them.”
He also noted the difficulties of the situation presented to him: “We had a lot of turbulence and at the last minute and had to try and pull players in. No excuses from me, they were better but it’s very difficult to get players in when it’s a free weekend where players have booked holidays.”
He also gave his verdict on England’s World Cup hopes: “The bonus they have is the fact they have numerous players to come into your side that are NRL players. The competition is going to be hard which is the way it should be.
“There are still some areas where they need to improve.
“I think it will be a wonderful World Cup, the obvious big three are going to be Australia, New Zealand and England competing for the World Cup. I think a couple of sides will give them a run for their money and there may be a couple of shocks.
Sadly, he was also the bringing of bad news revealing that Leeds Rhinos star Matt Prior suffered a nasty sternum injury: “We don’t know the extent with Matt Prior yet. He came off with quite a bad sternum injury and one of the things I said when the players came in on Tuesday is I understood what they’ve gone through prior to this game and what they have to do after this game.
“I don’t want to wreck Matt Prior by making him come back onto the field when he’s had a terrible sternum injured. It would have been unfair of me to get him back onto the paddock and he was playing brilliantly before he came off but I think a player’s welfare is more important.”