Spots on line as England ready for PNG
"I'm not overly excited, but I'm not unhappy either."
That was Wayne Bennett's response to how he rates his England team's progress in the World Cup so far.
England won two pool games against Lebanon and France but the coach is still waiting for a complete performance from his team.
The squad arrived in Melbourne on Monday night from Perth and faced similarly hot conditions as they went about their training at Lakeside Stadium.
Bennett admitted intensity will gradually lift as players prove they are worthy of a spot in the team to play Papua New Guinea in the quarter-final on Sunday at Melbourne's Rectangular Stadium.
"We've been trying to do everything with great intensity," he said.
"It will go up by the nature of the game – it's a knockout game – someone's not going to be here after Sunday night. That in itself will create its own pressure."
England are likely to welcome back Sam Burgess who trained strongly after missing two weeks with a leg injury. Bennett said the South Sydney Rabbitohs forward was extremely keen to play again.
"He's playing on the edges, so it's not as demanding physically [as playing prop]," Bennett said.
"We want him to get through the whole game. Sam brings a lot. But right now, Sam's priority is to make sure Sam plays well and not worry about the team."
Winger Jermaine McGillvary and fullback Jonny Lomax are doubtful starters for Sunday. McGillvary injured his ankle and Lomax has a calf injury.