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Rugby League World Cup Diary: Wise heads may have made a difference
AND you can't help wondering, with a couple of older and wiser heads, whether England wouldn't have edged their opening Rugby League World Cup encounter with our Antipodean friends.
But with James Graham (leading NRL yards machine) and (Grand Final winner) Michael McIlorum seemingly in the doghouse for their post-Italy party, Steve McNamara's charges were left to rue what might have been.
For around 25 heady minutes it looked as if the irrestible energy of props Sam Burgess and Chris Hill, coupled with the guile of James Roby , might forge a famous victory for the tournament hosts.
Inevitably almost, the carbonite core of the Green and Golds - Slater-Thurston-Cronk-Inglis-South, wasn't going to melt away, England shipped too many penalties, and the Aussies ran out 28-20 victors.
Ben Westwood spilled the obligatory claret, Chorley's Josh Charnley bagged a trademark poacher's effort and there was a tingle every time someone named Burgess tried to steamroller through.
Still it was a fairly enthralling taste of what's to come and at least England didn't look outclassed, if this fixture is to be repeated at any point in the near future.
Quite why the Millennium Stadium doubled as the UK's loftiest morgue for much of the proceedings (understandable nerves or too many passengers?).
Harsh to compare maybe, but England would have benefitted from the verve of a Grand Final day Old Trafford than the curiously reticent Cardiff crowd.
Those going the whole 80 minutes and enlisting for the Wales vs Italy portion of the double-header should not have been disappointed.
Only a slight script change from the opener, you had a youngish side up against a team of NRL stars, including the legendary Anthony Minichello.
Sorry but I can't quite subscribe to the 'Azurri' notion just yet, not when the pitchside interviews with the boys in blue all sound like Joe Mangel.
The tournament new boys' impact, with a tidy 32-16 opening win, can only bode well though for the continental appeal of the game long-term though.
Further intrigue today as the Sonny Bill Williams/Kiwis juggernaut rocks up in Warrington for a tasty battle with the Samoans.
And Rochdale's significant Fijian community (second largest outside London) could definitely leave the Irish with the impression they're undertaking an away fixture.
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