England Rugby League coach Steve McNamara will travel to Australia this week for a fact-finding mission where he will meet all of his international NRL based players.
McNamara will watch 10 matches during his 20-day trip. Next week he will take in four matches in the NRL, starting on Friday when he will watch England international James Graham play for Canterbury Bulldogs against Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. On Saturday he will be a guest at the Wests Tigers versus Canberra Raiders match. Sunday he will watch brothers Sam and George Burgess at Parramatta Stadium, when South Sydney Rabbitohs travel to Sydney's west to face Parramatta Eels. The following day he will take in the 'Monday Night Football' clash between Gold Coast Titans and Melbourne Storm at Skilled Park, where he will meet up with England star Gareth Widdop.
“I always aim to get over to Australia at least once a year to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the NRL and to meet up with the England players playing in the southern hemisphere," said McNamara.
“I will watch ten matches during my visit, including the second State of Origin. I have been invited to observe Queensland's training camp as they build-up to their game in Brisbane.
“I have also organised meetings with the England players to keep them updated and engaged with our plans as we continue to look ahead to the Rugby League World Cup. Even though I speak to our Australian based players at least couple of times a month, the opportunity to see them in person is vital. They are all excited about this year and representing England on home soil. It is a big deal for them."
The England boss will also carry out a number of media interviews during his time in Australia with a view to creating awareness of the England programme and the progress the international side is making.
“I think it is important to continue to spread the word on the work we are doing at international level,” added McNamara.
“Our boys are doing us proud in the NRL and for the first time in a number of years there is massive respect for our players and their influence within the game. It is important to embrace the sport and there is no better way to create awareness of the international game than speaking to the Australian media in their own backyard.”