Expectations is a strong word. It adds pressure on to individuals and teams to win the silverware for which they are competing. However, for the forthcoming four Nations I am experiencing the lowest expectation I have ever felt going into a Rugby League tournament.
Last years Four Nations Final at Elland Road surprised me (I was surprised England were in the game for so long) as the team played their hearts out and had plenty of drive in the forwards. At the end the Aussies came on strong and with twenty minutes to go and Billy Slater showed why he is the best player in the world to see off the Lions challenge.
Move forwards to just under twelve months later and what state do we find ourselves in? We have a weakened team and a coach who (in my opinion) may be a little on the 'green side' to be coaching a national side, and as we have seen with Bradford hasn't had the best of starts to his coaching years.
The team we take with us to Australia & New Zealand is intriguing, is this the best side we can put out considering the injurys we have to our top players? Our half back options dont make me feel confident at this moment in time, Robinson has played well in the games I have seen him start for the Giants but is his game that diverse that he will be challenging against the Aussies, or will he be rich pickings? With Widdop being included, is he going to be playing alongside Robinson especially as 'Arm Grabber' Tomkins is favourite to play Full Back.
The forwards for me (pun alert) look like being our strong point. Although the decision to pick Lunt and Fielden left me scratching my head, yes Fielden has had a better season than previous years, however, he has lost his head quite a few times this season and the Aussies will surely use this to their advantage. Otherwise the forwards look like the best we can offer.
As for only Hall being picked from the Rhinos, it's not really a shock. Apart from the players who are injured, who realistically could be called up given some of the form and game time they have had this year?
Fingers crossed eh?! Mr X