The stage is set for stand-in England skipper Sam Burgess to dominate an inferior Kangaroos pack and inspire a boilover in the Rugby League World Cup final in Brisbane, Gorden Tallis says.
Sam Burgess, Chris Hill and Ben Currie of England put a stop to Jason Taumalolo of Tonga.
Former Kangaroos enforcer Tallis has rated Burgess as the greatest British forward to play in the NRL and believes the South Sydney talisman can prove the difference against overwhelming favourites Australia at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
England appeared to cop a huge blow before their first Cup final appearance in 22 years when captain Sean O'Loughlin ruled himself out with a quad injury on match eve.
But Tallis believes Burgess can still provide enough firepower to blow away what he considered a lesser Kangaroos pack.
"He is one of the best forwards I have ever seen," Tallis told a Rugby League World Cup final function in Brisbane.
"He is the best English forward that has come out here to play, I think he is absolutely outstanding."
Tallis believes Burgess could pack a one-two punch with England forward James Graham that could give the Australian forwards nightmares.
"If he and James Graham can play the way they do in the NRL, if they can play with that intimidation and ferocity I don't think the Australian forward pack are as good as those guys," Tallis said.
"Australia have a great backrow but if those two guys can light it up and play to the best of their ability I think they will give the Australian pack a real nightmare."
Backrower Burgess will replace O'Loughlin at lock, with Ben Currie starting on the edge and utility Jonny Lomax added to the bench.
O'Loughlin is the second key forward coach Wayne Bennett has lost in a week, following star hooker Josh Hodgson's torn ACL in their semi-final win over Tonga.
England have not won a series involving Australia since 1972.
And they last beat Australia at a World Cup in 1995.
But Burgess was daring to dream, even contemplating who would lift the trophy for England if Australia - undefeated at a World Cup since 2008 - were somehow denied.
"I don't think it gets much better than the World Cup final and it will be a special moment, although it's kind of bitter-sweet if I'm honest," said Burgess who led England in last year's Four Nations tournament.
"Sean has been captain the whole tournament and he'll lift the trophy if we get to that situation."