Faz dying to tackle mighty Aussies

Liam Farrell
Liam Farrell

FOUR-time trophy winner Liam Farrell admits this weekend would mark the pinnacle of his career – if he gets the nod to tackle the might of the Kangaroos.

The Warriors tackling machine played for England in the 15-14 friendly loss to Italy on Saturday.

Steve McNamara’s pack is bolstered significantly by the availability of Sean O’Loughlin (injury) and Ben Westwood (suspension) for Saturday’s explosive World Cup opener against Australia.

And Farrell is hoping to have done enough to keep his place in the 17-man panel charged with overcoming the Green and Golds at the Millennium Stadium – a selection which would reflect his growing stature in the sport.

“This would be the highest level to play at for me,” said Farrell, who has won two Grand Finals and Challenge Cups with his hometown club. “At the same time I’d be more nervous than I’ve ever been before. It would be a wake-up call.

“I’ve come into the squad and had more involvement than I thought I would have.

“I’ll just see if I get picked this weekend. Either way – if I do I’ll be giving my all, if not I’ll be behind the lads and working hard to get in there next time.”

England’s first showdown with Australia in two years has taken on greater significance by the competition format of the 14-team World Cup.

With both nations expected to win their remaining Group A fixtures, against Ireland and Fiji, they will progress to the knockout stages. But the pool winners will almost-certainly avoid New Zealand in the semi-finals – smoothing the way for a place in the November 30 Old Trafford final. “It has got more meaning to it, it’s not just a normal pool game and we’ll be going all out to win it,” said Farrell.

“We’ve not had much success as a nation, but there are some top-class players and you gain a lot of confidence from that. We believe we can win it.”

Farrell says the mood within the England squad has not been dented by their surprise defeat to Italy in a pre-tournament friendly last Saturday.

“Even though it was embarrassing and a massive shock, we did a review on Sunday and took what positives we could out of it,” said the 23-year-old. “This week’s focus is all on Australia and doing the job.”