Former champion Great Britain rugby league star Ellery Hanley admits he can't envisage England surpassing Australia on the international stage in his lifetime.
In a remarkable appraisal of the state of the English Super League, the 51-year-old savaged the quality of the domestic game in England and said until it was up to scratch the national team would continue to fail against Australia.
Hanley, who earned 36 caps for Great Britain and also spent two years as coach of the national team, acknowledges there are talented players in the current crop of English stars.
But he believes the disparity in class between the top and bottom sides of the Super League will always hold England back.
"Well they won't (surpass Australia), I don't think that will happen in my lifetime anyway," Hanley said on Friday.
"I say this with respect to Great Britain (but) the Super League, as much as you have Stevo (commentator Mike Stephenson) and those guys calling the game saying it's the greatest game and greatest contest - it's not.
"The truth is it isn't. Because they don't have enough strong individual teams there.
"There's only four teams in the competition who will win the trophies at the end of the season.
"And all the rest just juggle positions basically and from time to time one of the teams below outside the top four will beat the top side, but that's only now and again."
Hanley says Australia and New Zealand will remain on top in the Four Nations and World Cup tournaments because their players are largely drawn from the NRL - which he describes as "a million miles" ahead of the Super League.
"Until they create a situation where all the teams in the competition in the Super League are viable in terms of competing against one another, they'll be a long way behind Australia," he continued.
"In Australia they play with intensity. Every single game is intense and the level is just so far ahead of England.
"... It's the best league in the world by a million miles. When you compare it with Super League, there is no comparison. None whatsoever."
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