Mixed Test series for St Helens stars
Despite finishing the third highest RL try scorer in 2018, Mark Percival was left out in the cold for the three-match Test series against New Zealand which England won 2-1 to retain the Baskerville Shield.
The St Helens centre was included in the initial 19-man squad for Sunday’s 34-0 hammering at Elland Road but didn’t make the final cut and will be left frustrated at not being able to impress head coach Wayne Bennett in a positive fashion.
The same couldn’t be said of his St Helens team-mates, Jonny Lomax,Tommy Makinson, and Luke Thompson, who all emerged from the series with flying colours.
Makinson, in particular, caught the eye - nothing more spectacular than his hat-trick in a second Test triumph at Anfield. He was also a threat in the Leeds’ debacle - having a first half try ruled out following a debatable obstruction earlier in the move and then after the interval had another chalked off as his foot was in touch.
But the 27-year-old was philosophical after England failed to complete a whitewash over New Zealand, insisting: ‘’We were not at the races today.
“We knew the Kiwis would come at us but we didn’t really turn up.”
He added: “Having said that, New Zealand showed their class and demonstrated what a good side they are.”
At the same time, Makinson described the series as a ‘special one’ for the victorious England squad.
“We bonded both on and off the field and since Wayne Bennett was appointed head coach he has brought a great deal to us.”