England coach Steve McNamara rues Australia defeat

Jamie Jones-Buchanan
England's Jamie Jones-Buchanan runs at the Australia defence

England rugby league coach Steve McNamara was left to reflect on a missed opportunity after his side fell short against Australia in the Four Nations final at Elland Road.

The home side entered the game full of optimism and only trailed 8-6 at the break before losing 30-8.

"We weren't quite as in sync with each other as in previous games," McNamara told BBC Sport.

"It is a disappointing way to finish and the players didn't deserve it."

After going behind to an early Sam Thaiday try, England were forced to defend stoutly and Australia had a couple of try efforts turned down by the video referee Ian Smith.

Ryan Hall's try shortly before the break gave England hope but Australia ran out comfortable winners with second-half scores from Jharal Yow Yeh, Greg Inglis, man of the match Johnathan Thurston and captain Darren Lockyer in his last game before retiring.

England had put in a strong performance to beat world champions New Zealand last weekend, having lost to Australia at Wembley two weeks ago.

And McNamara was keen to focus on the positive aspects of his team's performances over the course of the year as they build towards the 2013 World Cup.

"We defended valiantly at times to keep our line intact having gone behind so early in the game and I was reasonably happy with the half-time score, especially as we didn't feel we had played that well," he added.

"We went set-for-set at the start of the second half but we weren't quite in tune with each other and gifted away a couple of good field positions and Australia made the most of that.

"But the tournament has been a real progression for us. We are desperately disappointed not to win. We felt we had a good opportunity and lost it but overall the success of our programme for the whole year has been a positive step in the right direction and we have to build on that."