Rugby League World Cup: Wayne Bennett uncertain over England future

England coach Wayne Bennet
Wayne Bennett combines the England role with his second spell as Brisbane Broncos coach
Rugby League World Cup final: Australia v England
Date: Saturday, 2 December Kick-off: 09:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live coverage and highlights on BBC One, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

England coach Wayne Bennett has refused to be drawn over whether he will remain in the role beyond Saturday's World Cup final against his native Australia.

The 67-year-old Brisbane Broncos coach, England's first Australian boss, was appointed in February 2016 but his contract ends after the tournament.

Asked about his future plans, he said: "I haven't thought. I just want to get to Saturday night.

"We've a big game coming and that's my priority."

Bennett is the first man for 22 years to take England to the World Cup final and is seeking to guide England to the trophy for the first time when they face Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

The three previous successes for the home nations in 1954, 1960 and 1972 came as Great Britain.

Asked why he took the job, he said: "Because I wanted to be in this World Cup, in Australia. I wanted England to be hopefully more competitive, I wanted them to be where we are today I suppose.

"That's what I thought, that it would add a great deal of interest to it all if we could get England back to that place where they should be and hopefully they can stay there."

The England coach praised the commitment of his players and added: "They're an outstanding group of men. I've said it before. They're not hard to coach, it's not hard to be part of their lives, it's been a lot of fun away from home.

"Their total behaviour on and off the field has surprised me in the sense that they're so disciplined. I've not had one player late.

"I've not had one occasion where I've had to talk to a player about his behaviour or about his lack of respect for someone or whatever. It's a credit to them all.

"They're all very close, very compatible with each other, they look after each other and pull each other into line, which is the way it should be. No one gets out of line because of the respect they have for each other."

Bennett, the most successful coach in Australian rugby league history with seven Grand Final wins, caused some controversy when he said after England's 20-18 semi-final win over Tonga that his side "probably" had no chance of beating Australia, who are contesting their 14th successive final.

The squads

England: G Widdop (St George Illawarra); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), K Watkins (Leeds), J Bateman (Wigan), R Hall (Leeds); K Brown (Warrington), L Gale (Castleford); C Hill (Warrington), J Roby (St Helens), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), S Burgess (South Sydney), E Whitehead (Canberra), S O'Loughlin (Wigan, capt).

Interchanges: A Walmsley (St Helens), B Currie (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), C Heighington (Cronulla).

Australia: B Slater, D Gagai, W Chambers, J Dugan, V Holmes, M Morgan, C Cronk, Woods, C Smith, D Klemmer, B Cordner, M Gillett, J McGuire, W Graham, J McLean, R Campbell-Gillard, T Frizell, F Kaufusi, T Trbojevic, J Mansour, J Maloney.

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