England will not settle for second best under Wayne Bennett, says Hull prop Scott Taylor as he prepares to make his Test debut.
It is 44 years since Great Britain last achieved a series win over Australia but the appointment of Bennett, along with the return of Sam Burgess and another influx of NRL-honed talent in the national team, has raised hopes of a breakthrough.
Taylor, who was named in the Super League Dream Team after making a big impact in his first season with his home-town club, is one of six uncapped players in Bennett’s 24-man squad for the Four Nations Series.
He is excited by the prospects, saying: “It’s the first time I’ve been picked in the squad but, if you look at it, we’ve got people like myself and Luke Gale who might have the chance to play for the first time and top senior players in James Graham and Sam Burgess.
“We’ve got a real good balance and it’s exciting times. We’ve got a chance this year to go and make a mark. I think nothing other than winning it would be acceptable for us.”
Taylor believes the presence of Bennett, widely regarded as the modern coaching guru, could be the X-factor that turns England into world-beaters.
“He’s arguably the best coach in the world for what he’s done throughout his career,” continued Taylor.
“He has that aura about him and whenever he goes into a room everyone knows he is there.
“He might come across one way to the media but for the boys he’s just one of the lads. He says the right things and he knows how we work – he’s just a pleasure to be around.
“He’s very honest and I’ve only spent four days with him but what he’s brought to the group and how he’s made us into a team already is unbelievable.
“To get the chance to spend another five weeks with him can only make me better as a person and a player.”
Taylor is the only representative from the Challenge Cup winners but his initial disappointment over the absence of club-mates Marc Sneyd, Jamie Shaul and Danny Houghton was quickly offset by the potential he sees in Bennett’s final selection.
“Like anyone, I was surprised at first,” he said. “But then 10 minutes later you find out the squad and it’s such an unbelievable 24 that a lot of players had to miss out.
“Everyone in this 24-man squad deserves a shot and are there on merit. It’s tough for them but I know those three will come back stronger.
“As a Hull FC fan, you’ll be biased and think your own players should be in and there are other players and clubs that are unlucky not to be in.
“They’re close mates of mine, but you have to look at it from the outside view and they’re arguably the right decisions.”
Bennett’s men will warm up for the Four Nations encounters when they take on France in Avignon on Saturday and Taylor is expected to be included when the coach announces his team today.
“If I get told I’m playing, it would mean everything,” added the former Wigan front-row.
“As a young lad, I saw Great Britain against the Kiwis at the KC a few times and went to Huddersfield to watch them play there. It’s something you never thought you’d do if you’re serious but everything’s working out well for me.”