18th Man Contribution – 8th December

Did the World Cup final suggest England are closing the gap on the Aussies or not?

It certainly looks like England are closing the gap. England competed for 80 minutes but couldn’t find that spark to find a way through the Australian defence. Perhaps the most telling part of the final and then a key aspect showing that England has closed the gap was the interview with Cameron Smith. Smith said that it was one of the toughest games he had ever played in; consider the gap to now be closed.

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Should Wayne Bennett be retained as England coach?

As much as Wayne Bennett bores me, in the way he conducts himself with the media and the way he sets his teams out to play – yes, I think he should stay on as England coach. I think its clear to see that England had a plan and a plan that the team executed very well. The team now has an identity and style under Bennett and to lose that would be a shame, however, if Bennett has no desire to coach in the next World Cup, then it is time to find someone else. Denis Betts, being the England assistant coach, may be the natural choice for the RFL.

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The World Cup is over – have you enjoyed it?

I have enjoyed the last two World Cups greatly, mainly for the games that you end up watching, not expecting much but boy do you get a good game. The Irish in this World Cup were great to watch, the emergence of the Pacific nations challenging the tier one countries was fantastic and that has to be built on. I am already looking forward to 2021.

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