Incoming nib Newcastle Knight Chris Heighington says England’s preparations are going to plan as they edge closer to their blockbuster clash with defending champions Australia in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup opener.
The English squad have been acclimatising to the warm weather they might encounter during the event by training in Perth, before making their way to Melbourne for the clash on Friday.
“We had a warm up game against a combined West Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory team in Perth,” explained Heighington.
“They put a rep team together and that was a good hit out.
“I played 40 minutes and it was good to get a bit of footy under my belt.
“Now we’re in Melbourne just getting ready for the game on Friday where it is a lot cooler.”
Heighington admits there’s been a massive build-up to the start of the World Cup, especially the expected thriller against the Aussies.
“There is a lot of flags about and I’m sure it will be buzzing come Friday,” commented Heighington.
“It will be a really tough game and they have been very good for a really long time.
“We're going to have to play really well to match them and hopefully we get an opportunity to beat them.”
The veteran forward believes the mid-season test against Samoa has helped the English side forge combinations.
“That helped us a lot because it was a really intense game,” explained Heighington.
“Everyone got together and got a good week in and sorted the combinations going into the World Cup.
“We've got very good players across the board.”
England is a side that is expected to shake up the competition and Heighington has no doubts they can do so under the guidance of coach Wayne Bennett.
“We have got three games and then hopefully move on to the quarter finals and the semis for the big games,” he stated.
“It's definitely a hard game first up but we’ve been training really well over the last ten to twelve days and we're planning to do really well.
“We just need to concentrate on ourselves and do well as individuals and that usually gets results for our team.”
ALL THE DETAILS:
England v Australia
When: Friday, October 27
Where: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne
Time: 8pm (AEDT)
England v Lebanon
When: Saturday, November 4
Where: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Time: 8pm (AEDT)
England v France
When: Sunday, November 12
Where: Perth Rectangular Stadium, Perth
Time: 6pm (AWST) – 9pm (AEDT)