England better than Kiwis: Lam - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England better than Kiwis: Lam

By Laine Clark 02/11/2008 01:44:51 PM Comments (0)

Defence definitely wasn't a highlight of PNG's 48-6 World Cup loss to New Zealand, but Kumuls coach Adrian Lam didn't miss when he delivered a late hit on the rebounding Kiwis.

Surprise packets PNG's "emotional rollercoaster" ride following their Cup-opening 10-point loss to England bottomed out as the Kiwis ran in nine tries to one at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney described it as a "step forward" for a team still nursing mental scars from their 24-point mauling by Australia last weekend.

But Lam rated England a better team than New Zealand despite the Kumuls suffering a much heavier loss to the Kiwis.

Clearly Lam thought the blowout had more to do with PNG's bubbling emotions than New Zealand firepower.

Asked who he thought would win the NZ-England November 8 showdown at Newcastle, Lam at first said: "I've got my own opinion on who will win their match next week, but....I won't say anything just yet."

But as Lam left the press conference he slyly added: "England next week by the way."

Lam said NZ simply took advantage of a largely amateur PNG side not able to get their head around their stirring Cup opener against the Poms.

"Everything has got to line up perfectly for us to compete at this level," Lam said.

"Our boys came here to play but it has been an emotional rollercoaster all week, up and down.

"I knew it was going to be tough to get them up for this game. Everyone had to be on their game to get a result that favoured us (against NZ).

"We were off our game...we got up last week for England but the rollercoaster went back down (against NZ)."

But Kearney could only find positives despite losing playmaker Benji Marshall for the second half last night.

"That was certainly the step we needed to take. It was a step forward," he said of the win.

West Tigers premiership-winning pivot Marshall sat out the last 40 minutes as a precaution after complaining of hamstring tightness.

"I was just spewing I couldn't go back on. If I had my way I would have stayed on," Marshall said.

"I wanted to get involved early and try and be dominant. I thought I did it in patches but there is still a lot to work on."

NZ are sitting pretty in the finals race after avoiding a banana skin on the tourist strip.

PNG can still make the semis - if they complete rugby league's answer to Mission Impossible.

They must topple Australia next Sunday at Townsville to remain a mathematical chance.

"We've got to build the boys back up. There's a great bond between the boys, that can't be questioned - we've got to get back to the mateship," Lam said of his monumental task.

"I just want our boys to compete. I can't ask for much more.

"I want them to go out there and play for each other. We will hold onto what we know and that mateship that we have."

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