The Liam Farrell Column: Our heads are still up

England's James Graham sits dejected at the end of his side's defeat to New Zealand
England's James Graham sits dejected at the end of his side's defeat to New Zealand

Despite the 17-16 loss to New Zealand the lads are quite upbeat.

We got back into camp on Monday and we’re still confident we can do something in this Four Nations tournament.

The effort in our opening game was there and we were doing a lot of the right things. But at few times we slipped up.

The last 15 minutes of the first-half and a short spell in the second, we didn’t have control of the game and we let them do what they wanted to do. We’re not happy to lose games narrowly, but I suppose in years gone by we’ve lost games by landslide scorelines, so it is encouraging that we’re consistently getting close. We obviously beat them in two Tests last year, on Saturday we lost by a point, at this level it’s a case of fine margins and about doing the right things at the right time.

Some people have suggested the winning drop-goal was wide. I’ve not seen it back, it would be disappointing if that was the case, but we had plenty of chances after that point to get something from the game. That’s what our focus is on – what we can do better.

The key thing as we head into Saturday’s match against Scotland is to keep the same level of intensity for our next two games. It is frustrating that, to an extent, we’re relying on other results, but all we can do is focus on winning our next two games and hope it’s enough to land us a spot in the final.

The key thing as we head into Saturday’s match against Scotland is to keep the same level of intensity for our next two games.

Liam Farrell

It may come down to for-and-against but we’ve not even discussed that. You can’t go into games thinking like that – it’s about doing the right things and having trust in your game-plan and your players.

Before Saturday’s game, the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, spoke to the squad and then presented the shirts. I was cheering them on watching the Olympics, so it was great to listen to them and they were pretty inspirational athletes.

It was great to see the TV viewing figures from the weekend – 2million on the BBC. It shows the hunger there is for international rugby league, and hopefully the double-header at Coventry this weekend gets a good attendance and a lot of interest.

I went down to the Ricoh Arena earlier this year for a promo, and I was really impressed. It’s a nice complex with restaurants nearby, and I think fans who travel down there will enjoy it.

I was shocked and pleased to be invited into England’s leadership team. When it was announced, I actually thought I’d miss-heard it when they said my name! Sam Burgess, James Graham, Josh Hodgson, Ryan Hall and Luke Gale are in it, too.

We meet with the coaches and get their views, and raise any issues the players have.