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Kangaroos reign in the rain; RUGBY LEAGUE.

SYDNEY-BASED forward Sam Burgess admitted it was "back to the drawing board" for England after their Four Nations final hopes were washed away in the Melbourne rain.

A 34-14 defeat by Australia at AAMI Park was a significant improvement on the 52-4 humiliation England suffered at the hands of the Kangaroos on their last visit to Melbourne in the 2008 World Cup, but the end result was the same.

An opening 24-10 loss to New Zealand in Wellington had left no room for further error in the tournament but there was no shortage of them in the Victoria capital as the tourists gifted their hosts tries galore. It all means Australia will take on the Kiwis in the November 13 final in Brisbane, leaving England a distant third once more, although they must ward off the threat of Papua New Guinea in Saturday's wooden spoon decider in Auckland to avoid further ignominy.

The impressive performances of Burgess and his Australia-based team-mate Gareth Ellis in the NRL had raised England's hopes going into this tournament and, although the former Bradford favourite still believes the gap is narrowing between the two countries, he admits results like the one in Melbourne make the case difficult to argue.

"I think we are (getting closer) but we're not getting the results at the minute," he said.

"We keep saying it every year.

We got to the final last year and we competed very well for 60 minutes, which seems to be the story for us. We need to learn to compete for 80 minutes. In the last 20 minutes of the first half we made a lot of first-play errors and the Aussies took advantage.

"It's back to the drawing board but I think the more time we spend together, the more tough times we go through together as a team, the more we will grow."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Nov 1, 2010
Words:311
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