Bennett made the statement after England’s narrow 20-18 semi-final win over Tonga but Kangaroos prop David Klemmer said those kind of mind games won’t engender any complacency in the Australian squad.Klemmer insisted Bennett would instil belief in the England squad that they could upset the host nation. “That’s just how Wayne is,” Klemmer said when asked about Bennett’s remarks.“He is probably trying to take the heat off England at the moment, but we know what they are capable of.“They have attacking strike across the park, big bodies and they are very passionate about representing their country. “Wayne Bennett is one of the greatest coaches in rugby league and he will probably have some sort of plan for us this week and he’ll be telling the England fellas how to beat Australia. We know we are up for an almighty fight.”Bench forward Wade Graham expects a better England performance than in the opening pool clash where Australia put the game to bed late to win 18-4.Graham said Bennett had “seen and done it all” and did not believe his defeatist remarks.“I don’t read too much into that,” Graham said.“We are expecting a better version of them and they are expecting a better version of us [than the first World Cup clash].“It was our first game together in the tournament when we met each other and both teams have no doubt improved in a lot of areas.”Klemmer said losing Josh Hodgson to a knee injury was “massive” for England but added that replacement James Roby would be up to the task.He knows the class of NRL stars James Graham and Sam Burgess in the forward pack only too well.“I versed them in that first game and it was tough in the middle. They are both fierce competitors and love playing for England so we will have to be on our game,” Klemmer said.“England had a bit of a scare against Tonga last week but they are a world class outfit.“That first Test against them was pretty tough and we knew the back end of the tournament we’d be versing them somewhere.”Meanwhile, Graham said the opportunity to play in a World Cup final was not on his radar at the start of 2017.“It has definitely gone beyond the goals I set at the start of the year,” he said.“After the Origin period there was a down part there with the loss [by NSW], and Origin takes a lot out of you physically and mentally.“Then my focus was on the Sharkies and we bowed out not where we wanted to.“To get an opportunity to be in this Australian squad and play as many games as I have, I am over the moon.“Mal names the team Tuesday and to potentially be in position to play a World Cup final is something I never would have dreamed of.”
Australia’s cricket board is seeking permission to trial the use of substitute players in domestic matches that would allow them to bat and bowl in place of team mates requiring medical attention for possible concussion.Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said it had sought approval from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow ‘concussion substitutes’ in local games and expected a response from the world governing body by the end of the month.Sutherland’s comments followed the release of a review into the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes, who was struck in the head by a ball when batting in a domestic match in November 2014.”Were also seeking approval from the Cricket Australia playing conditions advisory committee to allow concussion substitutes in all domestic male and female competitions under our auspices,” he told reporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday.”One of my observations is that while we support this recommendation being explored, I think it needs to be fully discussed and socialised.”It is one of the fundamentals of the game of cricket that its a game of 11 players and a substitute has not been allowed in the past and we need to work through all of the machinations of that possibility.”Substitutes have been permitted to replace injured or ill players in matches for over 100 years but are not allowed to bat, bowl or act as wicketkeepers, according to the laws of the game.”The fundamental issue here is the desire for medical staff to have the ultimate say in an incident of concussion to be able to make a judgement and to allow that to be facilitated as easy as possible,” added Sutherland.advertisementThe report into Hughes’s death, led by barrister David Curtain, made a number of safety recommendations including the mandatory use of helmets by batsmen facing fast and medium paced bowling in first class matches and also for wicketkeepers and fieldsmen close to the wicket.It made no recommendation on the use of ‘concussion substitutes’ but described it as a “relevant issue” that might require consideration.Sutherland said he saw concussion substitutes in test matches as a “natural extension” following a possible adoption in domestic matches and suggested other classes of injury should also be considered in how they are activated.”There are also instances in the game where other injuries occur that could give rise to a substitution,” he said.”I think that again is part of why this needs to be a broader discussion.??Sutherland also confirmed that the use of the highest British standard helmets (BS 7928:2013) would now be mandatory in domestic matches, adopting the recommendation in the Curtain report.He said CA was also encouraging players to adopt the use of stem guards, which are attached across the back of the helmet, but conceded more research was required to prove that they afforded extra protection.