The Liam Farrell Column: Not content with second or third best

Sam Burgess cant hide his disappointment after England's loss to Australia last Sunday
Sam Burgess cant hide his disappointment after England's loss to Australia last Sunday

We were all hugely disappointed with our defeat to Australia on Sunday.

I didn’t play, but we’re all gutted we aren’t in this weekend’s final at Anfield.

We kept them to a minimum score in the first-half, but we went away from what we wanted to do in the second-half and it cost us.

Everything they do is simple and conservative, but they are world-class. They make very few errors, they kick long, defend well – and any mistake we make is amplified, because they take advantage.

If you make a mistake, they make you look stupid. We just can’t afford to make the mistakes we did against Australia, because it cost us in the end.

I know the score blew out but I don’t think we are that far away. We lost to New Zealand by a point, beat them in the series the year before, lost to Australia by two-points the year before that – we’re just falling short.

It will be hard to watch the final on Sunday, but I will, as a fan

Liam Farrell

But we’re not content being second or third best, we want to be better than where we are, and this series has highlighted areas where we need to improve.

I don’t know the details yet, but there is a pre-season England camp in January, and a Test against Samoa in May can only help us. The more quality international games we play, the better we will get.

It will be hard to watch the Four Nations final on Sunday, but I will, as a rugby league fan.

With a World Cup next year, we don’t know what internationals will take place from 2018 and the 2021 World Cup.

I’ve never played with a Tri-Nations, or Kangaroos tours, but personally I quite like the Four Nations format.

What Scotland did against New Zealand last Friday was great for the sport, and when we went Down Under two years ago, we had a terrific Test against Samoa.

Countries like Fiji and PNG are getting stronger and stronger, and it keeps it interesting having other nations involved, in addition to the ‘big three’. Of course, the downside of the Four Nations is we only get one crack at the Aussies and the Kiwis if we don’t make the final – so it’d be good if we could squeeze more Tests in against them, too, though I realise it’s a balancing act.

On Tuesday night I was invited to the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association dinner as man of the match in the Grand Final. Hull FC skipper Gareth Ellis was also there, he won their player of the year, as well as Bill Ashurst and Andy Gregory – two others with St Pat’s links like me!

Brian Noble was the after-dinner speaker. He spoke about his career, as a player and a coach, and the plans for the new Toronto side which sounds exciting. It’s a shame to see one of his old clubs, Bradford, have more financial troubles. I hope it all works out well for them.

This is my last column of the year. I’m going to take a well-earned break, and use the time to catch up on some university work – I’m studying for a degree in strength and conditioning, but it’s been on the back-burner for a few weeks while I’ve been with England.

Thanks for reading, 
and – as early as this seems 
to say – have a good Christmas.