Wayne Bennett will turn struggling England into a side capable of winning the Four Nations virtually overnight, Cooper Cronk and Matt Gillett have warned their Kangaroos teammates.
Bennett will take the reins of England for the first time in the October 29 clash against New Zealand at Huddersfield and the supercoach will have plenty of motivation after he was overlooked for the Australian coaching gig for Mal Meninga.
Seven-times premiership winning coach Bennett will have another match against Scotland in Coventry a week later to fine tune his side before taking on Australia as a head coach for the first time at London’s Olympic Stadium on November 13.
England have never won the Four Nations tournament, nor its predecessor the Tri Nations. But at home under Bennett, 2016 shapes as arguably their best chance.
“The one thing that Wayne Bennett does with all the football teams that he coaches is that he makes you play for your teammates,” Cronk told AAP.
“He makes you work hard and not let your teammates down.
“When you have that type of under-culture, all the skills can just find their way through.
“Super competitive are probably the words that come to mind when you think of Wayne Bennett coached teams and I’m sure England will be no different.”
Bennett turned the struggling Broncos into grand finalists in one season upon his return to Brisbane last year.
Star Broncos back-rower Gillett knows better than most what Bennett is capable of.
“He was pretty good at the Broncs in terms of turning things around quickly just by being simple,” Gillett said.
“He sat down with each player at the Broncos and I suppose he will do the same with England, sit each of them down and talk about what he wants them to buy into.
“If they all buy into what he has got to say and the direction he wants to go they will go a long way and they will be a true threat.”
In players such as Sam Burgess, James Graham and Gareth Widdop, Bennett has a number of NRL hardened players to lean on.
There has been talk Bennett has been busy attempting to entice players such as Brett and Josh Morris and Chris McQueen, who can qualify for England through their grandparents, to switch allegiance.
That will be confirmed, or otherwise later next week when the England squad is named.
Either way, Gillett believes the England will be tough to beat.
“The team that Wayne will choose will be competitive and he will make sure they do all the little things, all the tough plays right, which if you have a full team of that they are very hard to stop,” Gillett said.