Rick Stone is confident Jermaine McGillvary can rise to the big knockout occasion with England in the World Cup this weekend.
The Huddersfield Giants head coach is delighted his wing star has been one of the big headline-makers of the tournament so far.
And he believes the 29-year-old will prosper again as Wayne Bennett’s side take on Papua New Guinea in Sunday’s do-or-die quarter-final in Melbourne, which kicks off at 5am BST.
“He is doing great and Jez has had a couple of really big games for England,” said Stone, who is now putting his players through Super League pre-season training.
“In the first game he played against Australia, especially, he was great
“He’s carried for plenty of metres, as he has done at the Giants through the year.
“Jez has got a big game coming up against the Papua New Guinea boys in Melbourne and he will again be looking to do well.”
McGillvary will line up alongside former Giants teammate Kevin Brown on Sunday, with Gareth Widdop reverting to full-back.
Widdop is happy to turn the clock back as England get ready to play knockout rugby.
The 28-year-old St George Illawarra captain and stand-off reverted to full-back for his country in their win over France and, in the continuing absence of the injured Jonny Lomax, will keep the role at his old Melbourne home ground of AAMI Park.
The Halifax-born Widdop has won the bulk of his 24 England caps at stand-off but made his England debut against France in the number one jersey back in 2010 and was man of the match in the role in the 36-6 win over the French in Perth.
“It’s been okay,” he said. “It’s probably been six or seven years now since I played back there.
“I’ll play anywhere just to represent my country. Wherever I get put, I’ll happily do my best to try and get the job done.”
Brown keeps the number six jersey and will get the chance to build on his promising partnership with Luke Gale.
The trio combined superbly to put England into an early 26-0 lead against France after 28 minutes, although their failure to fully press home their advantage provided a clear indication of an area for improvement.
“As a team, the first half was really good,” Widdop said. “We spoke about completion and discipline being good.
“The second half was a bit scrappy, we turned the ball over too much and were on the back foot so we need to be better this week. When we’re good, we can score points, it’s about doing that for 80 minutes.”
After letting Lebanon off the hook in similar fashion a week earlier, Widdop knows England cannot afford a repeat as the competition gets tougher.
“It’s certainly something we need to fix,” he added.
“We can’t afford to keep doing that, that’s for sure, but we get another opportunity this week to get that right.”
The Kumuls, made up largely of the PNG Hunters team that took the Queensland Cup by storm in 2017, go into the last-eight tie on the back of a three-match winning run and Widdop accepts they will be no pushovers.
“They’ve a good side,” he said. “They’ve done really well over here this year.
“It will be a tough battle, it always is, but we need to worry about ourselves first, and make sure we get everything right.”