Can England win the Four Nations?
England's latest attempt to win an international rugby league tournament starts on Friday when they play France in the opening game of the Four Nations.
It comes at the end of a decade that has witnessed near misses for Great Britain in the Ashes and Tri-Nations as well as two disappointing World Cup campaigns for England.
Last year's World Cup was arguably the worst of them all, with Tony Smith's team mustering only a scrappy win over Papua New Guinea and suffering losses against Australia and New Zealand (twice).
It raised the perennial question of whether Super League is robust and competitive enough to produce hardened international players.
Ellis thrived in the white-hot environment of the Australian NRL
"With the disappointments we have had in the past I have questioned whether we are good enough," forward Gareth Ellis told me when I recently caught up with him after an England training session.
"Australians don't regard Super League as highly as it deserves. They watch a poor performance from England and it reflects badly on the competition.
"It would be nice to put that right but to earn their respect we have to beat them."
Ellis should know what he is talking about.
He spent last season playing for Wests Tigers in Australia's National Rugby League.
The 28-year-old is the only player in Tony Smith's England squad who plays in the NRL and the former Wakefield and Leeds forward has shown over the last season that English players can compete and succeed against the best.
His debut campaign in the NRL saw him walk off with Wests' Player of the Year award. It came at the back end of a season that started with coach Tim Sheens, who is also in charge of the touring Australians, suggesting Ellis needed to go back to basics.
Wests did not make the play-offs, missing out by a single point, so Ellis has spent the last few weeks with the England train-on squad. It is an unusual situation for the second rower, who played in the 2007 and 2008 Grand Finals before moving down under, but it has given him the opportunity to get to know some of his new England team-mates.
"I watched a few Super League games when I was in Australia and noticed a few players that I had not seen before," added Ellis.
"I've only been gone for nine months but it is good to see young talent coming through. I've been training with a few of them with England and it is good to see the confidence they have gained over the year."
Ellis is talking about the likes of Kyle Eastmond, Sam Tomkins, Richie Myler and Scott Moore - all of whom have come to the fore this season.
England will have more or less an entirely new set of backs for the forthcoming tournament, which comprises round robin games between England, Australia, France and New Zealand before the final at Elland Road. Only Leeds stand-off Danny McGuire remains from the backline that lost to the Kiwis in last year's World Cup semi-final.
Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Keith Senior, Martin Gleeson, Leon Pryce and Rob Burrows have all been left out of the squad. In their stead, the emerging generation have been given the opportunity to prove their worth.
St Helens' Eastmond (20), Wigan's Tomkins (20) and Warrington-bound Myler (19) all play in the crucial half-back positions and will have to show that age is no barrier to success if England are to succeed. Tomkins impressed in the warm-up game against Wales, while Myler starts against France and Eastmond is among the replacements.
Wing duo Tom Briscoe (19) and Ryan Hall (21) and centre pairing of Wasps-bound Lee Smith (23) and Michael Shenton (23) also start against the French.
As Smith explained: "I think it's time to put some fresh faces in. We've got some young people coming through and they deserve a chance."
It is hard to argue against Smith's logic. The previous generation of backs might argue they had often been played out of position but nonetheless they had been given ample opportunities to show their worth. Aside from one-off victories they had failed to consistently translate their form in Super League to the international stage.
Eastmond scored all St Helens' points in the recent Grand Final
It is a slightly different story with the forwards. Players like skipper Jamie Peacock, Ellis and Adrian Morley remain world-class performers. Without question, England have more experience up front than in the backs and Smith's team should more than hold its own in this department.
However, there is youth in the forwards as well. The selection of hooker Moore to start against France is also another bold investment in youth by Smith, while Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (23) and NRL-bound Sam Burgess (20) should have great careers ahead of them.
It would be a crushing disappointment if England lost to Bobby Goulding's France in Doncaster but the subsequent contests against Australia and world champions New Zealand present a very different proposition.
With the exception of Wigan's Thomas Leuluai, every Kangaroo and Kiwi in the tournament plays their club rugby in the NRL. Ellis found the competition down under consistently stronger than he experienced in Super League. Every team had several star players while a side at the bottom had the capacity to beat opposition perched at the top.
He reckons that the key lesson he learnt in his first season with Wests was the importance of playing for the full 80 minutes. It sounds obvious, but then again GB and England have a habit of losing crunch games either as a consequence of a solitary period of sloppy play or during the closing minutes.
But Ellis also discovered during the course of his inaugural NRL season that players down under are fallible and is confident England can beat them.
"I feel more confident coming back into England environment knowing that I have played against their so-called superstars week in, week out," he said.
"You do realise they are human and make same mistakes we do - they miss tackles and drop the ball. It has given me a new perspective with which to look at them when I come up against them."
Even so, England will have to show considerably more cohesion in defence from their World Cup campaign if they are to win the Four Nations. It would be a considerable achievement if they were to do so and a major fillip for the international game.
England's precocious young talent could produce a few surprises, but I think it is asking too much of the inexperienced backline to expect them to triumph against such accomplished performers as Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston and Ellis' Tigers team-mate Benji Marshall. Australia in particular have an awesome back division and are hot favourites to win the competition.
England are now in a transitional phase and I think many supporters would settle for a series of performances that hints at a team capable of eventually succeeding in a major tournament.