Former Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley on Friday savaged the quality of domestic rugby league in England and said until it was up to scratch the national team would continue to fail against Australia.
The gulf in class between the top and bottom teams of the Super League will always hold England back and Hanley said he could not envisage England surpassing Australia on the international stage during his lifetime.
Hanley, 51, who earned 36 caps for Great Britain and also spent two years as coach of the national team, acknowledges there are talented players among the current crop of English stars.
But the former great believes the disparity between the leading and bottom sides of the Super League will always stop England from progressing.
"Well they won't (surpass Australia), I don't think that will happen in my lifetime anyway," Hanley told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
"I say this with respect to Great Britain (but) the Super League, as much as those guys calling the game saying it's the greatest game and greatest contest -- it's not.
"The truth is it isn't. Because they don't have enough strong individual teams there.
"There's only four teams in the competition who will win the trophies at the end of the season.
Hanley said Australia and New Zealand will remain on top in the Four Nations and World Cup tournaments because their players are largely drawn from the National Rugby League -- which he describes as "a million miles" ahead of the Super League.
"Until they create a situation where all the teams in the competition in the Super League are viable in terms of competing against one another, they'll be a long way behind Australia," he said.
"In Australia they play with intensity. Every single game is intense and the level is just so far ahead of England."
Hanley had playing stints with Balmain and Wests in Sydney between 1988 and 1997.