Makinson reveals he has NRL ambitions in the future
Newly-crowned Golden Boot winner Tom Makinson wants to test himself in the NRL.
The 27-year-old England winger spoke of his ambition after being unveiled as player of the year by the Rugby League International Federation at a dinner in Leeds on Wednesday night.
Makinson is contracted to St Helens to the end of 2021 but says he wants to follow England’s all-time leading tryscorer Ryan Hall, the man whose England shirt he has inherited, to Australia at some time in his career.
“It’s something I want to do, definitely,” said Makinson, whose award has received criticism down under, most notably from New South Wales coach Brad Fittler.
“It’s something I’d like to experience. Whether that’ll be in a couple of years or not, who knows. But it’s something I’d like to do.”
Makinson says he keeps in touch with former St Helens coach Nathan Brown, who is now in charge of Newcastle Knights, but ruled out any prospect of an early reunion.
He said: “I’ve spoke to him as I get on with him pretty well - but not yet!”
Fittler dubbed the award “totally ridiculous” in an interview with NRL.com in which he said: “I can’t believe the best player in the world is a person I’ve never seen play.”
England coach Wayne Bennett admits Makinson did not appear on his radar until this season and asked journalists at the post-match press conference on Sunday where the player had been hiding.
“That’s just Wayne,” Makinson said. “He loves a bit of a joke!
“But I can’t thank him enough; he fills us with confidence just like he does the rest of the lads and he’s an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Makinson made a try-scoring debut as a substitute in England’s mid-season win over New Zealand in Denver and was handed the number five jersey for the autumn internationals when Hall, who has joined Sydney Roosters for 2019, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“I didn’t really think I was going to get a game going over to Denver in the summer but then Wayne said there’d be two backs on the bench and it was like, wow,” he said.
“Then I got thrown on before half-time. He knew that was the moment to put me on as people were getting tired and I think I’ve kicked on from there.
“I thought that would be that for the year but I’ve just kicked on so much.
“I’m much more well-rounded a player now, there are some fantastic wingers in the world and to be up there amongst them, it means a lot.
“I can’t thank Wayne enough, not for what he’s done with me, but what he’s doing with England.
“I think a lot of people wrote us off before this series with 10 senior players being out but how he brings us together and the things he does with us like going to France and Belgium - for me and the lads, this is for him because he helps us out a great deal.”