Peacock reflects on his youth

Leading England out at Wigan on Saturday afternoon will bring back childhood memories for Jamie Peacock of sitting on the sofa watching BBC’s Grandstand.

England’s crunch Gillette Four Nations clash with Australia will be rugby league’s first major Saturday afternoon international since the 2000 World Cup.

Sky, who have had a virtual monopoly on live coverage of the big matches since the arrival of Super League in 1996, have preferred evening kick-offs but the BBC now have the rights to one England international every year.

It means England’s bid to reach the November 14 final will be witnessed by a bigger-than-usual television audience and Peacock admits that will increase the pressure on his team to perform.

"It’s fantastic that it’s back on the BBC on Saturday afternoon," he said. "It’s like rolling back the years when I used to watch the internationals. We will want to put in a performance.

"Playing Australia is a big occasion and I love playing at Wigan. I can’t wait for Saturday."

England’s opening 34-12 win over France, coupled with Australia’s 20-20 draw with New Zealand, has heightened interest in Saturday’s match at the DW Stadium, where victory for the hosts would put them through to the Elland Road decider and leave the Kangaroos’ hopes hanging by a thread.

More than 20,000 tickets have already been snapped up and England second rower Gareth Ellis, who has spent this year playing for Wests Tigers in Australia’s NRL, is anticipating a passionate atmosphere.

"One thing I’ve missed about Super League is the noise an English crowd makes," he said.

"The atmosphere was good at Doncaster but the noise level is going to be cranked up even higher on Saturday.

"As an English player you are lifted when the crowd gets behind you. The atmosphere over here can be unsettling for the Australian players and I hope all our fans get behind us."

Meanwhile, Australia have rung the changes following their disappointing performance against the Kiwis.

Parramatta second rower Nathan Hindmarsh, 30, is recalled after a two-year absence and coach Tim Sheens is poised to give debuts to hooker Robbie Farah, prop David Shillington and second rower Luke Lewis.

Second row forwards Ryan Hoffman and Sam Thaiday have paid the price for the Kangaroos’ draw with the Kiwis while Kurt Gidley and Trent Waterhouse have been included in provisional six-man bench and will most likely be the ones to drop out.

Lewis who was part of the 2003 tour of England but did not play a Test while Farah withdrew from Lebanon’s squad for last year’s World Cup qualifiers in order to press his Kangaroo claims.