Short preparation no issue for Kangaroos
Kangaroos back-rower Matt Gillett is confident combinations will click in time for Australia's opening game of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup against England on Friday night despite limited preparation for the tournament.
With the first clash marking a month since the Telstra Premiership Grand Final, 11 of the 24-man squad reached at least the preliminary round of the NRL finals – with time away from the game proving limited for almost half of Australia's playing group.
The Kangaroos wrapped up final game preparations last week with a warm-up fixture against Papua New Guinea and Fiji, before heading into camp in Melbourne on Sunday.
"It is a short prep but I think [coach] Mal [Meninga] is doing the right thing, we don't want to be doing too much and getting too excited," Gillett said.
"We've definitely got a big job. It's a long season with NRL and Origin. Probably mentally you lose a bit [of game conditioning] but it's always important to rest the body.
"It (game conditioning) comes back quickly."
 Telstra Premiership: Matt Gillett
Tackles, All Run Metres, Tries.
Getting off to a strong start in the tournament is crucial for the Kangaroos to defend their crown, but with versatility amongst the squad, Gillett was under no illusions a permanent position in the line-up would prove hard to come by.
"It could be our only chance [to win a World Cup] and it's something special to do it on home turf," Gillett said.
"That's part of representing the Kangaroos – you're here to do a job.
"Everyone is going to get a chance in the pool games. You don't want to get relaxed and comfortable within your position. That's a healthy thing to have amongst the side and a good mix of players in different positions as well."
Only four players – Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Boyd Cordner – remain from the victorious 2013 squad, while Smith and Slater are the lone figures that featured in the 2008 tournament which ended in defeat on home turf against the Kiwis.
Gillett is wary of England and club coach Wayne Bennett's influence on any opposition, with the Broncos mentor having a big input as a New Zealand assistant coach during the Kiwis' shock 2008 tournament win.
"He's coaching a whole different side there with England, a lot different players that he's not used to coaching but I think he's got mostly the same group of players as last year's Four Nations," Gillett said.
"They've built that bond and connection in the halves.
"They're going to be better this year and tough like they always are but it comes down to what we're going to do."
The Broncos forward drew similarities between Bennett and Meninga's coaching styles, along with their off-field approach towards the playing group.
"He brings the team together well. Going over to Fiji might seem like a little thing but it's pretty big," Gillett said of Meninga.
"He knows his footy and is pretty intimidating as a coach.
"As a player he's been there and done that. He's on and off; all good coaches are like that.
"[Bennett] is like that too."