Wayne Bennett's tenure as England coach showed little signs of improving as they produced an unconvincing performance in a 30-10 victory over Samoa.
Bennett received much criticism during England's disappointing Four Nations campaign, which saw them win just one match.
Eyebrows were raised by the decision to start preparations for this year's World Cup with a mid-season clash in Sydney and there was little on show to boost hopes for a successful World Cup, with England unable to completely put the game to bed until the closing stages.
A strong first-half showing saw England surge to a 14-0 lead thanks to tries through Ryan Hall and Stefan Ratchford.
James Graham's clever offload and quick handling from England sent Hall in for the opening try in the left-hand corner.
Luke Gale added a penalty before Ratchford demonstrated neat footwork to dot down for England's second try before half-time.
But Samoa responded well after the interval and Joey Leilua reduced the arrears to eight points when he powered over, Anthony Milford adding the extras.
Josh Hodgson stretched the lead again by finishing off a wonderful team move, but Milford sold England's defence a dummy and went in for Samoa's second try 14 minutes from time to offer them hope of a surprise triumph.
However, prop James Graham barged his way to the line to all but seal victory and England still had time to finish with a flourish as winger Jermaine McGillvary collected a chipped kick to touch down.