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England showed good signs: Widdop

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016 Ian Laybourn

England players believe the team remains on the right track as coach Wayne Bennett ponders whether to make changes following their opening Four Nations defeat.

A 17-16 loss to holders New Zealand at Huddersfield on Saturday means Bennett's men must beat both Scotland and world champions Australia to keep alive their hopes of a maiden Four Nations title.

Five-eighth Gareth Widdop, who won his 20th cap against the Kiwis, insists England do not need to change much to get their campaign up and running.

"It wasn't the result we wanted but we certainly showed some really good signs and we'll be better for it," the Halifax-born St George Illawarra captain said.

"In the end a field goal separated us. You can't knock the effort of the boys or the commitment that we showed. It was outstanding."

Wigan second-rower John Bateman also believes there were more positives than negatives from England's close-fought duel with New Zealand as they set their sights on Steve McCormack's Bravehearts in the first part of a Four Nations double header at Coventry's Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

"The mood in the camp's a bit down but we know what we've done and we know the positives we have to take out of it," Bateman said.

"We definitely have the belief. You look at the passion and pride we've got - it's always been there."

Widdop and Bateman could face competition for their places from George Williams and Liam Farrell, the two players left out of Bennett's 19-man squad for Saturday's game.

The 27-year-old Widdop was given a new halves partner for the third match in a row when Luke Gale made his debut in England's 40-6 win in France and he believes there is more to come from his pairing with the Castleford halfback.

"Hopefully we get another opportunity next week. If you are swapping and changing all the time, it's hard to get consistency. Wayne will have an idea of what he wants to do. We'll just turn up and try to do the job he gives us the best we can."

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