Wayne Bennett has said that he was extremely proud of his English team following their defeat to Australia in the Rugby League World Cup final, but he has refused to comment on his future as head coach.

England lost 6-0 to Australia in their first World Cup final for 22 years. However, they made life difficult for the champions throughout the match.

“I’m really proud of them,” Bennett said. “I thought the game was somewhere around State of Origin standard. They were exhausted but still found another effort. They were wonderful and it’s a pity there has to be a loser. Nobody really loses, the scoreboard says they do but the effort and intensity from both teams was outstanding. That’s what makes sport great, someone has got to win, someone has got to lose.”

There were a number of moments when it seemed that England would be able to make a comeback, but they were consistently foiled by a determined Australia.

Bennett’s contract with the Rugby Football League has now expired but he didn’t comment on his future. When asked he said, “I’m not talking about that tonight. At the moment I’m not thinking about that.”

According to England captain Sean O’Loughlin, the players want Bennett to stay on, “I’m sure they would. I wouldn’t see any reason why not. We’ve not quite got over the line today but we’ve definitely improved.”

Mal Meninga, the Australia coach, also had praise for Bennett saying that, “It’s up to him but they’ve made some huge strides, which is good for the international game. They’re playing quality rugby league. They look and play like a Wayne Bennett-coached side. They control the footy well and keep on turning up for each other defensively.”