Exiles captain Brett Hodgson says Australia are best in the world

Last Updated: 24/04/13 7:19pm

Hodgson: Relishing Exiles challenge

Exiles captain Brett Hodgson says England are showing signs of improvement - but Australia will prove they are the world's number one side at the World Cup later this year.

Warrington full-back Hodgson led Exiles to a 32-20 victory over England last summer in the second of two International Origin contests, after the hosts had edged a rain-drenched opener.

"Australia are definitely the team to beat - they keep excelling at the top level."

Brett Hodgson

Following England's hammering at the hands of their old rivals in the 2011 Four Nations final many pointed to last summer's defeat to Australian players based in Super League as a sign of how much ground the national team have to make up on the men from Down Under ahead of the 2013 World Cup.

While Hodgson believes there is hope for England fans, he told Boots 'n' All Australia are clearly the best national side on the planet.

"I'd like to see England improve on what they've done in the last couple of years and I think they can do that," he said.

"There will be more experienced guys coming back from Australia who are playing at pretty good levels there, in the Burgess brothers, and the kids of England over here are definitely improving as well.

"But Australia are definitely the team to beat - they keep excelling at the top level.

"It will be a tough gig for England to compete against them."

However, Hodgson reckons England's one-off contest against the Exiles this season will help fine tune the World Cup hosts ahead of the big tournament which starts in October.

"That's what this contest is about to an extent - as well as us representing our country and our towns and places over there the Exiles match is a matter of improving what can be done for England," he said.

"We want to see as many fans out there to support England as possible and really up the ante on how important it is for England to prepare for this World Cup."

Honour

But, despite his desire to see the country in which he plys his trade do well, Hodgson revealed his pride in representing his homeland - and admitted he was honoured to once again captain the Exiles this summer, with this year's contest taking place on June 14.

"I've been proud to be involved in the last two seasons that we've had this Exiles contest and to be in it again this year is very satisfying and I'm looking forward to it already," he said.

"There's not a lot of motivation need to play England and in the squad we all know each other very well so the spirit and the camaraderie and the enthusiasm is already there.

"We come into camp knowing we've all come from the same part of the world, we've all travelled over here and experienced similar things such as leaving family behind. But getting into camp we were very relaxed and when it came to doing the football stuff we lifted the intensity a little bit.

"Last year we had some good laughs and some good times and I'm sure it'll be the same this time."