England v Australia preview.
Tomkins believes England can bridge the gap
Australia go into Saturday's Gillette Four Nations final as overwhelming favourites but there is genuine belief in the England camp that this could be their year.
England have been here before, mostly recently in 2009 when they received a rude awakening, but there is a widespread acknowledgement that they may never have a better chance to gain a first series triumph over the Kangaroos since the 1972 World Cup.
Sam Tomkins, one of 10 England survivors from the 2009 final, admits they went into that Elland Road decider lacking real belief but now he epitomises a new-found confidence among Steve McNamara's rejuvenated team.
"We were bigger underdogs in 2009," said the Wigan full-back, who was at stand-off two years ago.
"We probably thought we didn't have much chance of beating them but this year we're a lot more confident. We feel we've got the team and the plan to beat them."
New Zealand demonstrated the Aussies' fallibility 12 months ago when they followed up their shock 2008 World Cup triumph by winning the Four Nations title and England did enough in a 36-20 defeat at Wembley a fortnight ago to suggest they are capable of bridging the gap.
"We can take a lot of positives out of that," Tomkins said. "We competed for a long period of time.
"The way the Aussies got us towards the end was down to mistakes of our own. They didn't force too much on us.
"It was silly penalties or bad decisions and we've been working this week to minimise those errors and mistakes."
Tomkins has come a long way since 2009, when he admits he was "star-struck" to be in such exalted company.
"I hadn't even played a full season of Super League," he recalled. "It's a very different situation now for me personally and the team.
"The set-up is much better now. Throughout the year we've these camps where we come together for two or three days at regular intervals and it's helped because the boys came in three or four weeks ago and everyone knows each other better than we did before.
"Personally I feel a lot more comfortable playing international rugby. I was still star-struck two years ago that I was talking to Jamie Peacock and Adrian Morley.
"I probably had a bit too much respect for the Aussies and was probably feeling lucky to be playing against Billy Slater, Darren Lockyer and people like that.
"I certainly don't have that feeling any more. There is this talk of the Aussies being so much better and the NRL being so much better but I don't think it's as true as people make out. We always get talked down a bit."
England are likely to make one change to the side that beat the Kiwis, with back rower Gareth Ellis returning in place of his Wests Tigers team-mate Chris Heighington, who picked up knock last Saturday.
The Kangaroos will be haunted by the fear of failure and motivated by the desire to send their popular captain Lockyer into retirement on a fitting note.
All Australian eyes at Elland Road will be on the 34-year-old as he prepares to play the final game of his stellar career and the Brisbane stand-off admits he has considered the prospect of defeat.
"Every game you fear failure," he said. "We're just preparing as well as we can to give it our best performance and the outcome looks after itself.
"You've got to be prepared for defeat, it's a chance of happening."
Australia lost last year's final to New Zealand in Brisbane and were also beaten by the Kiwis at Elland Road in 2005 but vice captain Cameron Smith prefers to remember their 46-16 win over England in 2009.
"We fell short last year and the last time we won was at this ground so we've got some good memories here," Smith said during the Kangaroos' familiarisation exercise at Elland Road this morning.
"We've probably got a little bit more to play for than that trophy. It's our captain's last game and we've got a lot riding on this game.
"We can't approach this match thinking about that and wanting to win it for him. It's about every one of Australia's players going out to do their best for their team and for their country.
"If we do that we give ourselves an opportunity of doing well."
Coach Tim Sheens has been forced to make one change to his Wembley line-up, switching Darius Boyd to full-back in the absence of Billy Slater, who fractured his collarbone in the early stages of the England game, and bringing in Lockyer's Broncos team-mate Jharal Yow Yeh to fill the void on the wing.