Roby ready to step up for England
With star hooker Josh Hodgson out of action, England's James Roby has declared himself ready to play the full 80 minutes if required in the Rugby League World Cup final.
Hodgson broke down with a knee injury 15 minutes into England's 20-18 victory over Tonga in last Saturday's semi-final, with coach Wayne Bennett declaring the Canberra Raiders rake was unlikely to play any part in the decider.
It leaves Roby as the obvious option to start, with the St Helens veteran confident he can manage the full 80-minute stint against Australia, despite playing the majority of the tournament off the bench.
"It's obviously bad news for Josh and I feel for him after everything he has done for us. [But] it's an opportunity I will take with both hands," Roby said.
"I am more used to starting than coming off the bench. I'm used to playing 80 minutes, but these games are intense and with the quality of players on show everything is that bit faster and bit more physical and that takes a toll. If I have to do it I will put my hand up for sure.
"If I start I will be going up against [Cameron Smith] and doing my best to win that personal battle and come out on top."
Also in doubt for England is captain Sean O'Loughlin, who lasted just 38 minutes of the semi-final before succumbing to a quad strain.
It adds to what already shapes as a monumental challenge for England, who collapsed badly in the final 10 minutes against Tonga to concede three tries and almost blow a 20-point lead.
Roby urged his side not to waste the opportunity, with England playing their first World Cup final since 1995.
"Australia will be the favourites and deservedly so, they have been playing well for a number of years now," Roby said.
"We know it's going to be tough, we know we are going to have to be at our best to get anywhere near that World Cup, and that's the challenge in front of us.
"You don't get many chances to play a World Cup final and I have played in the two previous ones without making it, so I am really looking forward to what is a big occasion for England league."