England their own worst enemy: Bennett
Wayne Bennett has labelled England their own worst enemy in the aftermath of his side's 36-18 loss to Australia and consequential elimination from the Four Nations tournament.
While there were plenty of positives surrounding Bennett's Wall of White throughout the tournament, the veteran mentor couldn't hide his disappointment over his maiden endeavour as England coach.
England dominated proceedings in the first half hour against the Kangaroos – where they posted an 8-2 lead – but fell away once Australia took control of the game.
"If you look at the context of the game, we competed great. We just didn't execute well enough," Bennett said.
"I've learnt they're a good bunch of blokes. They try hard, have a great attitude and are good to be around.
"On and off the field, they're behaviour is excellent and it's been great to be a part of. I've enjoyed it immensely.
"It just makes me angry that they're not showing how good they can be. I'm disappointed for them."
England skipper Sam Burgess agreed with his coach's sentiment and said plenty of work needs to be done if they're to match Four Nations finalists Australia and New Zealand down the line.
"We beat ourselves. After the first 30 minutes, we just made it hard for ourselves. Certainly we're disappointed. The score line didn't reflect who we are as a team," Burgess said.
"Wayne thinks we're our own worst enemy which the guys tend to agree with. If we are to get to where we want to be then we have to concentrate on every play.
"A few lapses of concentration here and there, you can't win at this level at that rate."
Throughout the tournament Bennett called upon four different halves pairings across just three Tests.
Kevin Brown, Gareth Widdop, Luke Gale and George Williams all were given their due time as Bennett sought to establish his best halves pairing ahead of the Rugby League World Cup next year.
Williams was named on the bench for England's eventual 18-point loss at the expense of back-up hooker Daryl Clark in a ploy Bennett described as an "experiment".
"I'm trying to work out what's best in terms of our halves and see what they can do," Bennett said.
"The halves weren't the problem so there's no need to keep going down that path though," he added, when asked who was to blame for England's loss.
"It was our inability to continually maintain pressure and we also didn't execute well enough. Not finding the sideline on two occasions is crucial in any game, let alone against the best team in the world.
"The stupid penalties we gave away didn't help either. We can't do it against quality football teams."
Meanwhile Burgess was coy over his exchange with Kangaroos firebrand David Klemmer, with the latter left bloodied after being hit by the South Sydney forward.
"I'm pretty sure you all saw what happened," Burgess said. "It was in the heat of the game."
This article first appeared on NRL.com