England will return to the scene of their World Cup final triumph on Sunday - with captain Pat Sanderson hailing his team's "perfect" preparation for another eagerlyawaited showdown against Australia.
Unlike in 2003, the odds do not favour England, given how more than a dozen key players have remained at home to either rest or recover from injuries.
Head coach Andy Robinson has awarded new caps to scrum-half Peter Richards, lock Alex Brown and flanker Magnus Lund, while wing Tom Varndell, centre Mathew Tait and second row Louis Deacon make just their second Test appearances.
Wallabies skipper George Gregan's 118-game international career is five caps more than the entire England back division on duty at Telstra Stadium, further highlighting an acute degree of difficulty faced by Sanderson and company.
But the Worcester back-row forward - England's fifth captain since World Cup leader Martin Johnson retired in 2004 - has delivered an upbeat message which suggests a determination to confound the critics.
England might be reeling from three Test defeats on the bounce, and Robinson's new support staff of Brian Ashton, John Wells and Mike Ford has been together for barely a fortnight, yet Sanderson exudes a feelgood factor.
"We are pretty positive," he said. "The training has gone really well, and we are looking forward to getting out on the pitch and playing rugby.
"From our point of view, it is time to get our minds around the game and really focus on that.
"We are very excited about the team we've got out there and the capabilities of the side.
"We've got a great set of lads who get on very well, and our lead-up into the Test has been perfect, but the proof is in how we play on Sunday. We want to let our playing do the talking."
While the Rugby Football Union installed three new coaches following England's latest RBS Six Nations Championship demise, the Wallabies are also under new leadership in former Bath duo John Connolly and Michael Foley, with ex-Wales supremo Scott Johnson appointed as skills adviser.
It all represents an adventure into the unknown for both teams at this weekend, and when they meet again in Melbourne six days later.
"We haven't really got any idea how they (Australia) are going to come at us," added Sanderson.
"We know a little bit about their coaches from their time at Bath, but when you look at the quality of their players, they are capable of playing whatever way they want.
"Australia are a very proud nation and extraordinarily competitive. The attitude of our players though, has been fantastic, and it is really exciting to witness some of these guys in training.
"I have never seen anything as quick as Tom Varndell, and Mathew Tait has trained brilliantly. The whole back-line is coming together really well under Brian Ashton's tutelage.
"I don't think we could have asked for much better preparation. The guys have really knuckled down, and I see this as an chance for us."
Sanderson has dismissed previous experiences Dow Under such as the 2003 World Cup triumph and so-called 1998 'Tour from Hell' when England lost 76-0 to Australia in Brisbane, which remains their record defeat against any opponent.
"Our ambitions in 1998 weren't to get beaten by 76 points," he reassured any doubters.
"But rugby has come on an awful lot since 1998, and it is hard to make comparisons between now and then.
"Anything that has gone before is irrelevant. This is a very different scenario, and we are looking purely at the weekend as nothing to do with anything that has passed.
"It is a high-pressure environment in a Test match, and how we keep our cool and how we react when the pressure comes on is massively important to the outcome of the game.
"All we can do is prepare to the best of our ability, We know Australia are preparing very hard for this game as well, and hopefully on Monday morning we will wake up with a smile on our face."
Sanderson, meanwhile, allayed any fears about his fitness, having missed training yesterday due to some stiffness.
"It was purely a precaution," he said. "I felt stiffness following the flight over here, but today is the best I have felt all week."