England have avoided plenty of banana skins on their way to the World Cup final and now face the ultimate test against Australia to decide who will lift the trophy on Saturday.
These two teams met in the opening game of the tournament and many predicted it could be a repeat showing in the final, and they were right.
New Zealand’s flop at the tournament meant that England, who are 11/2 to win the match, have had an easier route to the final than they would have expected.
That lack of a big and expected showdown with the Kiwis means that England will not exactly be battle-hardened against a top nation going into this final but on the other hand they could be fresher.
Head coach Wayne Bennett will be hoping lessons will have been learned from their 18-4 defeat to the Kangaroos in the opening game when these two teams meet again in Brisbane.
The +18 handicap for England could well be the way to go, with Bennett’s side not losing by more than 18 points in their previous four meetings with the reigning world champions.
When looking at first tryscorer, Valentine Holmes, hot from his six tries in a 54-6 demolition of Fiji in the semi-finals, will be one to look out for at 5/1.
From the English ranks, Huddersfield Giants’ Jermaine McGillvary has been in fine form throughout the tournament and is a very tempting 12/1 for the first try.
This looks like it could once again be a bridge to far for England in Brisbane but the Kangaroos can be rattled and the handicap market is certainly something to look at, for what should be a cracking spectacle between two great rivals.
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