Lomax aiming to kick on after injury setbacks

Jonny Lomax
Jonny Lomax
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Jonny Lomax is determined to build on his England experience as he prepares to kick on with his injury-hit career.

The 26-year-old St Helens full-back was one of the few players to emerge with credit from England’s disappointing Ladbrokes Four Nations campaign and was arguably their best player in Sunday’s 36-18 defeat by Australia.

Lomax missed the first 11 weeks of the 2016 Super League season after undergoing a second knee reconstruction but played a major role in Saints’ surge in the second half of the year to press his claims for an international call-up in the absence of Sam Tomkins and Zak Hardaker.

Recommended to new national coach Wayne Bennett by his former club boss Nathan Brown, Lomax made his Test debut in England’s warm-up match against France in Avignon and kept his spot for all three matches in the Four Nations Series.

“I’ll take positives from the experience, out of the whole year to be honest,” Lomax said. “If someone had given me this opportunity in January, I’d have bitten their hands off with the past few years that I’ve gone through.

“So I think this experience and what I have learnt will stand me in good stead, it can only improve me as a player.

“It’s obviously results-based so I was gutted with the way Sunday’s game turned out. We were desperate for the win.

“We just went through a period when we didn’t get our hands on the ball and we bombed a few opportunities. Against a team of Australia’s pedigree, you’ve got to be clinical. They were and we weren’t at times.”

England’s performances, which were in stark contrast to Scotland’s impressive Four Nations debut culminating in an 18-18 draw with holders New Zealand in Workington last Friday, suggested they have gone backwards over the past 12 months but Lomax says it is too easy to draw that conclusion.

“People are entitled to their opinion but you could also look at Friday night’s result,” he said. “Every player in the competition is a great player and every team in the competition is a great team.

“It’s all on the day, a couple of bounces of the ball and being a bit more clinical, I don’t think there is too much in it. We’ll definitely learn from the experience. We’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Lomax will now aim to fight off competition from Tomkins and Hardaker and keep his England spot for the mid-season international against Samoa in Sydney as well as the 2017 World Cup.