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St Helens legend James Graham says Australia will be “worried” about England after win over Samoa

England defied the odds yesterday to beat fancied Samoa not just comfortably but produced a demolition job with 10 tries taking apart a Samoan side many thought would top the group and possibly go on to make the final helped on by six NRL Grand Finalists.

However, England looked more like World Cup Finalists with a statement win turning the narrative on its head and for Jon Wilkin this came from Shaun Wane using the underdog narrative to spur his men on.

Wilkin said on BBC: “England aren’t the best team in the world are they, so people say ‘can they win the World Cup?’ The likelihood of that happening before the tournament was low. But coaches need to use that to build a narrative to sell to the players.

“Coaches will go, I’ve been in teams, someone will say something about you and you’ll use it to provoke an emotional performance but we’re in a world where you’re entitled to have an opinion on how England are going to do.”

So, the narrative has now been flipped and James Graham and fans are starting to believing: “Where England go from here, I’m already starting to believe now. How good is that. Fans are going to believe we can go all the way.”

To the former St Helens star and a man who spent a huge chunk of his career in the NRL and understands how the Aussies thing, the victory will make the likes of Australia and other potential rivals fear Shaun Wane’s side as he said on BBC after the game: “To the rest of the teams in the tournament who will look then at England’s performance and just start to think ‘wow’ there is a lot of momentum behind them. They’ll think ‘are they much better than we thought they were?’

“Speaking to people in Australia, people in Australia were worried about Australia facing Samoa along the way. I think now the narrative has changed. You’re now worried about England, they’re a genuine contender. I’m loving what we have seen today.”

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