Burgess brothers Tom and Sam playing for England in 2017 WC final.

Bennett's video nasty gives England added motivation

Sam Burgess hadn't watched last year's World Cup final until England coach Wayne Bennett showed the team some key moments he believes cost them victory ahead of Saturday's (Sunday, 6am AEST) historic Test against New Zealand at Mile High Stadium.

Despite qualifying for England's first World Cup final since 1995, Burgess and his teammates were bitterly disappointed to lose 6-0 to Australia and prop James Graham admitted: "The scars never leave you".

The final was regarded as one of the best England performances for some time but the players are determined to finally win some silverware for their country and believed they should have won.

"The amount of feedback I got after the World Cup final was outstanding," Bennett said.

"Everyone loved that Test match, everyone felt that they did England proud but they were extremely disappointed because they convinced themselves that they could have won and that is how they played.

"That was the greatest thing about that game from my point of view, that belief the players had. That was my challenge when I first took the job over, can I get them to really believe they can beat Australia."

Burgess indicated after Friday's captain's run at Mile High Stadium, which was attended by former Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, that the World Cup loss would provide added motivation to beat the Kiwis in the first of four Tests between the nations this year. 

Former Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and England forward James Graham.
Former Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and England forward James Graham. ©NRL Photos

"There is a couple of moments that cost us and that's the be all and end all at the top end," Burgess said. "We both are good teams, both have quality players and there will be two or three moments that you get the result from, and that night we didn't get the moments.

"We looked at that game and we move forward now and we have got to get better. That is our whole ethos. "

The aim of the England players is to topple the Kangaroos from the top of the RLIF's international rankings but first they need to leapfrog the Kiwis into second spot and Graham said they were committed to the campaign.

"You never let losing stop you, we keep going and I guess the ultimate aim is to bring some silverware back to English soil," said Graham, who posed for photos with Howard, the former USA goalkeeper who now plays for Colorado Rapids in the MLS.

Asked if the players felt an obligation to entertain the American crowd and television audience watching on CBS Sports, Graham said: "I am coming here to win. If we perform well people should be entertained".

Bennett, who took over as England coach in 2016 and told NRL.com he was interested in continuing until the 2021 World Cup, said there was a selfless attitude among the players and a determination to keep improving. 

"These guys are as good a group of men as I have ever been involved with," he said. "I saw James Graham working at training with the young prop from St Helens, Luke Thompson, and I thought how good is that. He will learn more from a week here with James Graham than I can teach him in a year as coach.

"Sam Burgess is an outstanding player no matter what country he was playing for but the guys who are English based have got good skills and they have got great attitudes. I think most of them could play NRL on a regular basis if they wanted to."

Both Burgess and Graham backed the Denver Test and said there needed to be an ongoing commitment from the game to play match in North America.

"If you look back at the history of State of Origin, allegedly it goes that it was never going to take off, the clubs rubbished it, they didn't want toa part of it," Graham said.

"We are probably in a similar position here. This is a process that I believe is worthwhile fighting through and fighting the opposition and the people who are against it.

"You have got to dream big and have foresight, and hopefully this could be something huge. If you just aim for it to be a one-year thing … and not seeing any potential growth, I think it's small-minded, to be honest."

Bennett finalised his starting line-up, with John Bateman to play in the centres and debutants Jake Connor and Tommy Makinson on the interchange, along with Tom Burgess and Scott Taylor.