England ready to bounce back against Kangaroos - coach
England head coach Steve McNamara (3rd L) attends the launch of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup at Old Trafford in Manchester on October 21, 2013
Last week's 15-14 loss to an Italian side boasting several players from Australia's National Rugby League (NRL), was a harsh wake-up call for McNamara and his team as they prepared for the 14-nation tournament on home soil.
"It's been a week as a coach, simple as that, preparing the team, getting ready to face Australia and the team underperformed against Italy last week, so it's been the nuts and bolts of the job this week," a testy McNamara said Friday.
"Our focus was the performance against Italy and how to rectify that.
"We learned from it, we knew this competition would be extremely tough before we came into it. We knew we'd have to be at our best and concentrate throughout.
"Certainly this game (against Australia) and the pool games will be very tough for us."
The response from the players following the Italy defeat was, McNamara said, "very determined".
"We're looking forward to Saturday and certainly we are very determined.
"The World Cup has been a long time coming around but we are prepared now, despite a little blip at the weekend which has probably made us a little more focused."
McNamara, who bad-temperedly refused to entertain questions on the absence of experienced enforcer James Graham from his 19-man squad for Saturday's match at the Millennium Stadium, insisted there was no panic.
"Coming back from South Africa, we were disappointed with out performance against Italy and the players have seen the reaction to it," he said.
"There is no panic. We never get overexcited when things go well and we never get too down when they don't. We know what we need to fix ahead of Saturday.
"I hope we can get the nation behind us - it was 1972 since we last won the World Cup. For a couple of generations we have not seen success."
The matchday squad features the three Burgess brothers, Sam, George and Thomas (all South Sydney Rabbitohs), and Gareth Widdop (Melbourne Storm), who all play in the NRL.
And Leeds Rhinos scrum-half Rob Burrow said he thought their experience in the best and hardest league in the world would pay dividends against the Kangaroos.
"Some of the lads who play over in the NRL have given the rest of us some hints and tips about the Australian guys," Burrows said.
"Obviously we know how good they are anyway, but it's little things that they do on the pitch which can be invaluable and hopefully give us the edge."
With Gareth Hock having been kicked out of the England squad for "serious breaches of discipline" following the Italy match, namely going for a drink with (he claims) several other players, Burrows said the squad were now keen to put it behind them.
"We were bitterly disappointed and quite embarrassed at times against Italy," said Burrows.
"We want to beat Australia. All games are won and lost as a team so we want to put the Italy match behind us and if we play to our best then we're a match for any team," he said.