Eddie Jones insists England are preparing to face David Pocock even though the Australia breakdown specialist has been ruled out of the second Test.
Pocock suffered a fractured eye socket in Australia's 39-28 defeat in Brisbane last weekend and will be sidelined for six weeks, robbing the Wallabies of their most influential player for the potentially decisive showdown at AAMI Park.
Jones, however, suspects the World Cup finalists might be playing mind games after casting doubt on the severity of the injury.
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"Pocock is certainly a good player and we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. I just hope he doesn't recover in time for Saturday - you never know," Jones said.
"I don't know if he is going to be in or out. We will prepare as though he is going to play. Well you never know."
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Jones has been infuriated by the "demeaning, disrespectful and disgusting" treatment inflicted upon England in Australia.
He objected to a vulgar question asked by former Wallaby back row Steven Hoiles in the post-match press conference at Suncorp Stadium and was incensed by a sneering promotional trailer for the series screened by the host broadcaster.
And now for the second week in a row Australia great Phil Kearns has criticised England, following up his analysis of Jones as a "fanatical" coach whose success is only short-term with the claim that prop Dan Cole scrummaged illegally in the first Test.
"Phil is part of an organised campaign and he's playing his role. And he's playing a very good role," Jones said.
"We are lucky we have got a fantastic referee for the second Test. Craig Joubert has refereed at least one World Cup final and is one of the most respected referees in the world.
"He has refereed 15s and he has refereed sevens. I'm sure he will be able to referee the scrums well, but I'm also sure he will appreciate the advice Phil has given him. I'm sure he will."
The former Wallabies coach added: "Every couple of days someone comes up with something. I've been part of it, I know how it works.
"So let's not beat around the bush, we know how it works here and everyone is entitled to their opinion."
Hoiles has since apologised to Jones for his inappropriate question concerning the way England's head coach and skills coach Glen Ella - who are old friends and former team-mates - celebrated Saturday's triumph.
Happy to cause his own mischief, Jones highlighted the frailty of the Australia line-out and zeroed in on their captain Stephen Moore.
"In the last couple of Tests their line-out has really been under pressure," Jones said.
"I'm sure Stephen Moore, a seasoned international with 100 Tests, will be worried about that area of their game."
Jones has promised that England will empty the tanks in pursuit of an historic series triumph.
"The second Test of a series is always interesting. One team is confident after a win, the other is desperate to win," Jones said.
"History shows that in the professional era the Wallabies have never lost the second Test.
"If you look back at the 2001 Lions series, 2013 Lions series, the Wallabies have always bounced back.
"The extra pressure is going to come from ourselves. We want to win this series and we have got an opportunity on Saturday, so we will be as desperate as the Australians, even more desperate.
"When you consider the history of the English team in Australia, there is reason for desperation and it is good desperation."
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