Great Britian end tour with another defeat!

Great Britain Rugby League Lions Tour 2019
Papua New Guinea (6) 28
Tries: Ipape, Boas, Olam, Johnston, Putt Goals: Laybutt, Martin 3
Great Britain Lions (10) 10
Tries: Austin, Hodgson Goal: Widdop

Great Britain’s first overseas over sea’s tour in twelve years will possibly go down in history as one of the worst on record after suffering their 4ht defeat from 4 games with an embarrassing 28-10 loss to second Tier nation Papua New Guinea in Port Mosby yesterday.

From the day the squad was announced the side has been under scrutiny due to the lack of Celtic internationals with only Australian born St Helens full back Lachlan Coote and Warrington forward Joe Philbin not available for England.

Also the overall balance of the squad was questions with only two specialist wing man and two centres named against an over compensation of six half backs. What if we got injuries to any of the three quarters which was exactly what happened and reverted us back to over a decade ago and the issue of playing players in unfamiliar positions against the world’s best teams!

After being forced into the situation of playing a half back on the wing in the second test defeat to New Zealand last week, with seven days apparently to short notice to fly in the replacement Ash Handley, GB and England head Coach Wayne Bennett promised changes and a chance for those who hadn’t yet played to show why they had been selected!

Unfortunately it came as no surprise when Bennett named the same starting 13 for the game against PNG, with the only difference on the bench being the introduction of Canberra Raiders new recruit George Williams on the bench, in place of Daryl Clark who after limited chances in the first three tests has been one of the few players to come home with any credibility.

Great Britian suffered the loss of skipper James Graham in the opening tackle due to a head injury, however despite that a side that was made of mostly part time second tier players from the Australia’s Queensland cup and the UK championship with a sprinkle of NRL and Super League talent out enthused the Lions side packed with the so called best from Super League and the NRL from the start.

Despite the loss of Graham the Lions did manage to take the lead through a try to make shift wing man Blake Austin (pictured) out wide, before Josh Hodgson scored his second in successive test match’s stepping through a static PNG defence.

The Kumuls who were being driven on by a very vocal and passionate crowd where unluck not to close the gap when Edene Gebbie had his flying effort in the corner rules out, only for Edwin Ipape to go one better with a sensational 65 m run from dummy half, splitting the markers before out pacing the Lions cover defence to score by the post and make the score 6-10 at the break.

Shortly after the break and the home side took the lead thanks to a great break from Doncaster Rovers half back Watson Boas, again Leed’s rhino’s back rower Rhyse Martin converted and it was 12-10.

From here the Kumuls would never go behind as the crowd acting as at least two extra men at times as the home side scored three more times through Justin Olam, Alex Johnston and Nixon Putts to eventually stretch the lead to 18 points and inflect their first win over Great Britian in 29 years.

For PNG it was a spectular end to a international season which as seen them grow from strength to strength over the past six weeks, while it could signal the end of the Great Britian Lions, as the RFL look to keep the Home Nations separate.

What is for certain is that the RFL will have to under go a full review of the last six weeks, the defeats to Tonga, New Zealand and PNG, squad selection, team selection, Team management, tactics the whole lot. For Wayne Bennett it could mean the end of the man that only two years ago got England to within a try of winning the World Cup! Only time will tell so watch this space.

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