SYDNEY - NRL-bound fullback star Sam Tomkins says England hope to catch Australia cold when they meet in Saturday's Rugby League World Cup opening match in Cardiff.
Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens opted against a warm-up match, meaning several members of his side will have been out of action for well over month leading into the big clash at Millennium Stadium.
Only Sydney Roosters pair Michael Jennings and Boyd Cordner and Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans, who are far from guaranteed a place in the final 17, played in the NRL grand final on October 6.
The Melbourne trio, skipper Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, haven't played since September 22 while North Queensland's Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and James Tamou have been inactive since September 14.
Even shorter on match practice are second-rower Sam Thaiday, who last played on August 29, plus Jarryd Hayne, Nate Myles and Greg Bird whose NRL teams also failed to reach the finals.
England suffered a shock loss of their own when beaten 15-14 by Italy in a warm-up game on Saturday as coach Steve McNamara's side, which used a 10-man bench including first-choice hooker James Roby and Gareth Widdop, were made to pay for an under-par display.
Tomkins, who scored two tries in that game, insists England are happy to meet tournament favourites the Kangaroos first up before an expected crowd of 70,000 after a preparation which included two trips to a camp in South Africa.
"It's perfect for us to play Australia first ... we've put everything in place to be in the best position possible for that first game," Tomkins told BBC Five Live Radio.
"Hopefully we can catch them a little bit cold and shock them. We don't want to build into this competition.
"We've been building for three years and don't want to build up to play against Australia against a lesser team.
"If we beat Australia first then it will put a massive buzz over this World Cup."
Tomkins will move to the NRL at the completion of the World Cup following his massive transfer from Wigan.
The Warriors have forked out in the region of a million dollars to lure the 24-year-old to Auckland and he admits it's a huge gamble going to a new team in a country he knows very little about with so much pressure on his shoulders.
"I have a very good friend in Tommy Leuluai and his girlfriend who I know well but apart from that I don't know anyone really," he said.
"It means a lot that someone can pay that much hard-earned money on a transfer fee for me.
"I don't set the fee so it that sense there is no pressure but I know, whether I like it or not, there's going to be expectations on me.
"I'd love to go over there, find my feet, and go under the radar. But I am pretty sure it's not going to happen like that.
"But I can't wait to get there and test myself in a competition that's a lot tougher than Super League."