10th November 2018, 13:19 | englandrl

Bennett keen to avoid complacency

Bennett keen to avoid complacency

England head coach Wayne Bennett has called on his side to finish the job when they take on New Zealand in the third Test at Elland Road on Sunday.

Having secured a series win with a game to spare, England have a chance to emulate the 1993 Great Britain side which went unbeaten in five Tests in a calendar year.

There will be no complacency under Bennett, who has challenged his players to finish the year on a high.

It’s really important,” he said. “We’re trying to build something. Good teams are consistent – they turn up every week and get the job done – and that’s our challenge here tomorrow, to play at the standard we’ve set.

We won the first two games by two and six points so there’s not much in it. If we get beat and we’ve done well tomorrow, I won’t be disappointed.”

England’s impressive performances in the first two Tests at Hull and Liverpool have sparked a flurry of interest in the third, for which more than 30,000 tickets have already been sold.

I’m elated with that,” said Bennett. “We went to Hull and we weren’t sure if the crowd were going to cheer us or not.

But they’ve seen these guys put in, they were outstanding in Australia in the World Cup and I think they’re getting some belief into their fans, that they’re a good side.”

Former England captain Kevin Sinfield, the Rugby Football League’s director of rugby, said on Friday he expects Bennett to stay on for the 2021 World Cup after “starting smiling during matches” and the veteran Australian admits he is enjoying his role.

I love working with these guys,” he said. “I can’t give them a big enough rap. I enjoy just being part of their lives. I’m not second-guessing myself about being here.

I’m looking forward to going home next week but at the same time I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Enforced changes means that Wigan Warriors second rower Joe Greenwood will become the 11th player to make his England debut in 2018 and that every member of the 24-man squad will get a taste of international rugby league.

Bennett has explained his decision to restrict St Helens centre Mark Percival to a solitary appearance against France, with Oliver Gildart and Jake Connor preferred for the Test series.

Team selection is always in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “We all see things differently.

I like what Gildart brings and Jake has got talent oozing out of him, although there are a few things in his game he needs to fix up.

Percy is wonderful to work with and he’s much improved. He’s certainly not the player he was when he first came into the squad.

There were a few things he needed to get better at and, to his credit, he’s done that. He knows I’ve got confidence in him, I’m just looking at different things for this series.”