STANLEY Gene has warned England his Papua New Guinea side are determined to consign them to the Four Nations wooden spoon this weekend.
The sides will clash aiming to avoid returning home winless after defeats to both New Zealand and Australia.
Gene’s Papua New Guinea side were demolished 76-12 by the Kiwis on Saturday as England saw their hopes killed off by the Australians.
But despite the big defeat, former Hull KR star Gene saw plenty of positives to take into this weekend’s wooden spoon clash with Steve McNamara’s men.
“I was delighted with the tries we scored against the world champions,” Gene told the Mail from Auckland.
“We never gave up and we kept plugging away.
“We struggled to control the ruck early on, but when we got control of it after the break, we showed we could compete.
“We actually looked dangerous and when we got back-to-back sets we challenged them.
“There are more negatives than positives, but this week we will work on turning those negatives into positives.
“I felt before the tournament, New Zealand were better than Australia and I still believe that.
“We now have to pick ourselves up against England.
“We don’t want to pick up the wooden spoon.”
Gene admits Saturday’s game was lost in the opening 10 minutes as New Zealand punished his men for a sluggish start.
The world champions were lethal inside PNG’s 20m line, scoring 14 tries from 21 visits.
But Gene hopes his men can use the experience of the past two weeks to produce their best performance and shock the English.
“You have to remember most of this squad has never been out of PNG and this is a steep learning curve for them,” he said.
“New Zealand moved the ball outside and our sliding defence wasn’t able to cope with that.
“But the players will learn from this.
“It will be weird coming up against Steve as coaches of our countries next week.
“He is under the same pressure as I am because rugby league is the national sport in my country.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him and hopefully we can sit down for a cup of coffee.
“It’s always been my dream to coach my country and despite two heavy defeats, I’m enjoying every minute of this tournament.
“Whatever happens this weekend, I will stay in charge of the team, as long as I’m wanted.
“There is no chance of me walking away from this job.” – AAP