David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Shaun Johnson unsure what to expect from England

New Zealand Halfback Shaun Johnson is unsure what to expect from England but is confident the Kiwis have what it takes to win their Four Nations opener in Huddersfield on Sunday.

An unchanged Kiwis side will look for redemption against the tournament hosts in front of a sold-out John Smith's Stadium following their limp performance in the recent 26-6 test defeat to Australia in Perth.

Johnson, who missed last year's end of season series loss to England through injury, remains uncertain of the Wayne Bennett-coached outfit's strengths and weaknesses but believes the Kiwis can get over any side if they play to their potential.

"I don't know too much about England," Johnson told Radio Sport's Crowd Goes Wild breakfast show.

"Obviously they've got class players that play down in the NRL but they've got a lot of boys from up here.

"The key for us and the focus that we've been going with is about ourselves and the way we want to play.

"And if we play our style and to our ability I don't think it matters who we're playing against.

"It doesn't matter who their coach is, it doesn't matter what players they've got, (if) we have an attitude to turn up for each other and commit to the plays and play a certain style of footy, then we'll be good."

After being dominated in the middle by the Kangaroos and taking poor options in attack and on last tackles, the Kiwis aim to play a more power-based game to allow Johnson and halves partner Thomas Leuluai to kick and run more effectively.

"A lot of the focus has been on getting our middle right and giving the halves the opportunity to play," said assistant coach Willie Poching.

"We've seen the impact that he (Johnson) has when his pack is going forward and our blokes understand they've got to really roll their sleeves up and be at their aggressive best.

"We've had a real good focus on doing some of that and they want to see Shaun at his best. They want to see Tommy being able to run into space and create opportunities for his outside men.

"It will start and finish with those big guys and they understand that."

Coming off last week's 40-6 warm-up win over France, England boast both size and attacking skill in the pack through the likes of captain Sam Burgess, Canterbury prop James Graham, and Wigan's Player of the Year and back-rower John Bateman.

"The English game is based around an attacking style," warned Poching.

"James Graham has that passing structure. And there's a few of them that have that, young Bateman, he's got a nice passing game as well.

"That's probably the different dimension that they have and some of the dangers that we've tried to put some focus on and be aware of. "We've got to be good in what we do and get over the top of that pack."

The Kiwis are attuned to the fact the ingoals throughout England are shorter than those down under, but while that makes kicking more difficult, tournament rules allow them more leeway than those used in the NRL.

"There's a few different rule changes," said Johnson. "On the flip side, at least if we kick it dead we don't have seven tackles, which is massive.

"We'll see what we can do with it. Hopefully we can run the ball a little bit more on last play as well."

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