SYDNEY - Australian centre Brent Tate believes the Rugby League World Cup starting this month will be the toughest in the competition's history.
More than 120 top-line NRL players will be in action in the 14-team tournament that kicks-off on October 26 when the Kangaroos take on England at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
And North Queensland star Tate said Sonny Bill Williams' u-turn decision to play for defending champions New Zealand only added to the tournament's lustre although it could spell trouble for Australia's bid to reclaim the trophy they once dominated.
"As a fan it's great that he's playing, but not as a player. But it shows how seriously everyone is taking this World Cup," Tate told AAP.
"It's a big challenge for us. It's over there in England in their conditions and their team now has plenty of NRL experience and Sonny going to the Kiwis is going to lift them immensely.
"You be foolish to think you can just turn up and win.
"I think it's going to the best World Cup rugby league has seen."
Tim Sheens' side will face an England side containing three of South Sydney's Burgess brothers, Canterbury's player of the year James Graham in addition to Sam Tomkins and Lee Mossop, who are joining the Warriors and Parramatta respectively next year.
But Tate warned attention must be paid to Tonga and Samoa who have a host of quality NRL players in their line ups.