Luke Thompson may have been a little frustrated when failing to make England’s 17-man squad for the historic Test match against New Zealand in Denver at the weekend - but Saints’ head coach Justin Holbrook insists it is all part of a learning curve for the 23-year-old prop forward and another stepping stone in his development as a Rugby League player.
Holbrook said: “Personally, I was disappointed that he didn’t make his senior debut at international level but just being in the squad was a great experience for him and on his return he remained really upbeat about it all.
“He also looks on the trip as a reward for the progress he has made in the game and hopes it will lead to greater things.
“Neither do I feel he has a point to prove because he has been great for me all this year.”
But no doubt the former Bold Miners youngster will be firing on all cylinders once more when table-toppers St Helens entertain Wakefield Trinity on Friday night and will be hoping to avenge the 24-20 defeat they suffered at Belle Vue in mid-April.
Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, and James Roby reported no serious side-effects from their 9,000 mile round trip and along with Thompson are expected to feature in the Holbrook’s 19-man squad which will be named tomorrow (Wednesday) as Saints aim to extend their unbeaten league and cup run to 10 matches.
“All the boys came through it well which is pleasing,” said the Saints’ boss.
“It was a big trip for them and I was really proud of how they played. It was good to see England have a dominant win and the boys who play for us have such a big part in that.”