Bennett: We weren’t good

George Williams congratulates Mark Percival on his try
George Williams congratulates Mark Percival on his try

Wayne Bennett admitted there “wasn’t much to enjoy” about England’s display as they beat Scotland 38-12.

Scotland - comfortably beaten by Australia in their opener - took advantage of a pedestrian England performance to lead 8-0 after 25 minutes but could not maintain their high-octane start as Elliott Whitehead crossed twice to give the hosts a half-time lead.

Mark Percival, Ryan Hall, Jermaine McGillvary and Luke Gale all scored during England’s best spell of the game before Liam Farrell completed the scoring on the final hooter.

But Bennett knows England need to improve significantly to beat Australia at the London Stadium next Sunday.

“There wasn’t much to enjoy about that performance,” said the England head coach.

“We put ourselves under pressure in the first half and had to find a way to get out of it, which to their credit they did in the second half.

“For 25 minutes in the second half they were pretty good but then went back to their old habits in the last 15 minutes.

“There was no particular reason for the slow start. They might have been reading the papers, thinking they just had to turn up and win.”

When asked what England need to improve on against Australia next weekend, Bennett said: “You name it, I’ll agree with you.

“We weren’t good. From how we played last week to this week, there’s no comparison.”

Bennett made four changes for England’s first-ever meeting with Scotland, with George Williams, Percival, Scott Taylor and Farrell all given a chance to impress.

The experienced Australian head coach admitted the performance had made his selection for the must-win game easier before adding: “I tried to give everyone a game - with the exception of one player (Stevie Ward) - and I’ve done that.

“I’ll pick the best team next week that I think has the best chance of beating Australia.”

Scotland endured a tough Four Nations debut on the opening night but gave themselves a chance of causing a major upset after crossing early on through Kane Linnett and Matty Russell.

England’s superior quality eventually told but the Bravehearts kept going despite Danny Brough’s yellow card and finished strongly, scoring a third try through Dale Ferguson.

“We spoke all week about how we had to start better than we did last Friday,” said Scotland head coach Steve McCormack.

“We challenged England and were good value for the lead early on.

“I don’t think the scoreline tells the story of the game but all credit to England. They were getting better as the game went on but when you take into consideration a really heavy penalty count and the sin-binning, I thought the effort from our lads was sensational.

“Anybody who questioned us being in this competition before the game won’t be questioning it after this performance.”