England capable of upset
On November 19, Elland Road in Leeds will host one of the most eagerly anticipated international rugby league games for many years.
It is a rematch of the 2009 final which was also played at Elland Road.
That night England were competitive and led after 60 minutes before Australia ran away with the game in the final 20 minutes to win 16-46.
This year though there is an optimism surrounding the England rugby league team that has not been present for some time.
England ran Australia close at Wembley two weeks ago, and without a few dubious refereeing decisions could and should have won that game.
England’s performance in defeat that day was commendable.
That performance was blown out of the water on November 12 when a brilliantly efficient display saw England topple current world champions and four nations holders New Zealand 28-6 at Hull’s KC Stadium.
Australia were lethargic in their win over Wales in Wrexham the following day; the 56-14 final score was very harsh on Wales who led 8-0 midway through the first half.
Two tries for Australia’s Cooper Cronk leading up to half time set the tone for the second half with Australia running away with the game.
Two major milestones will be reached in the next match: England prop Adrian Morley will win his 50th cap and in doing so becomes the record international cap holder for England and Great Britain.
The second milestone will be Darren Lockyer playing in his final game of rugby league before retirement; whatever happens on the field, Lockyer will go down as one of the greatest players the game has seen.
He holds the record for most international appearances, most state of origin appearances (for Queensland), and the most appearances in a club career (for Brisbane Broncos).
Farewell to a legend
While Lockyer is coming to the end of his career, Sam Tomkins is just starting his; the electric Wigan and England fullback is perhaps the most exciting player to come out of the British game in the past 20 years.
It is Tomkins who holds the key to ruining Lockyer’s farewell game, and he has spearheaded an exciting new generation of England players that will look to overcome Australia for the first time since 1995.
In the lead-up to this week's final, the shortlist for the golden boot was announced, and for the first time since the golden boot has been awarded, England have equal representatives with Australia.
Tomkins is joined by England teammates Ryan Hall and James Graham while Australia are represented by Lockyer, Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston.
Lockyer could make history by being the first player to win the award three times after his triumph in 2003 and 2006.
Tomkins, Graham and Hall are looking to be the first England player to win the award since Andy Farrell in 2004.
England have their best chance to beat the worlds number one ranked team since the days of Jason Robinson and Gary Connolly, and another large, partisan crowd is expected to cheer England on.
But if Australia win, don’t be surprised to hear an almighty send off for the legend that is Darren Lockyer.