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Papua New Guinea 28-10 Great Britain Rugby League Lions: Return tour ends on sidewalk 4-0

Watson Boas made the first of four PNG attempts in the second half
Great Britain Rugby League Lions Tour 2019
Papua New Guinea (6) 28
Attempts: Ipape, Good, Olam, Johnston, Putt Goals: Martin Laybutt 3
Great Britain (10) 10
Attempts: Austin, Hodgson Goal: Widdop

Britain suffered a 4-0 flood on their return tour after an effervescent Papua New Guinea surprised the Lions at Port Moresby.

The defeat will intensify the scrutiny of Lions and England coach Wayne Bennett, who is now without a contract.

Justin Olam, Watson Boas, Alex Johnston and Nixon Putt tried, after Edwin Ipape's impressive first-half score, to give PNG only their second victory over Britain.

Lions failed to score a point in the second half to end the disastrous tour.

Bennett's squad, as it has been since appointing an unbalanced squad with few sides, raised questions again as midfielder Blake Austin was again thrown out of position on the wing, leaving Ash Handley out despite the fact that Leeds Rhinos was summoned to camp as an emergency replacement for Lions' first trip to PNG for 23 years.

A physically demanding month left the Lions taking care of several injuries, and with the first blow of defender Luke PNG, which caused damage to the game, inflicted more pain by flattening Britain's captain James Graham – a beat that 34 years old -old failed to recover as he was forced out after a head injury assessment.

PNG fights back for famous victory

It was Britain who opened the scoring through Austin, the makeshift wing shooting into the corner after 14 minutes failing with a diving effort a few minutes earlier.

For the first time in four games since the Lions emerged from a 12-year hibernation following a defeat by Tonga and two losses to New Zealand, the British led.

Josh Hodgson's second attempt in a few weeks, going through a static PNG defense up close, silenced the passionate crowd that had previously enjoyed his team's start.

Edene Gebbie seemed to make a sensational attempt in response to the left, but his aerial stunts were not rewarded when the video referee decided the ball crossed the sidewalk when it was on the ground.

With the last play of the first half, however, the Kumuls tried the efforts they deserved as Ipape went through two poor attempts to play 65 meters to score.

Boas, who plays England's third tier with Doncaster, added a second with great speed after the break, with Rhyse Martin converting to beat Kumuls.

Olam increased the advantage by receiving a deflected kick from Wartovo Puara, and Johnson dived into the left edge on Kumuls's fourth attempt after the hosts swung, bounced and changed the ball with a free-kick.

Putt's attempt, profiting from Jonny Lomax's high kick, completed the famous victory – PNG's first victory over Britain in 29 years.

The defeat in Papua New Guinea, the only country in the world where rugby league is a national sport, meant that tourists had disastrously signed their international return.

What's next for Bennett?

Wayne Bennett led England to the 2017 World Cup final, which they lost to Australia

Bennett, a man often called the & # 39; supercoach & # 39; For his body of work and distinguished success in his native Australia, he has attracted the ire of those who regard the British brand in high esteem by using the team's first appearances for 12 years as an opportunity. to work on future plans with England.

The initial formation against Kumuls was a complete compliment from England, with Irish striker Joe Philbin the only representative outside Bennett's World Cup consideration at the bench.

The 69-year-old expressed a desire to remain England's coach, rejecting criticism of performance and results, and openly said that the tour – which took place in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – allowed him to "do a little" to experiment. .

"It's around 2020 and 2021 with these two years presenting the Australian and World Cup tests," Bennett said after Lions' third defeat on tour and their second against New Zealand last week.

It is a focus that became obvious for the first time with his unbalanced squad, having scored six full-backs in an initial 24-player squad that included just two wings and a recognized center.

Injuries forced a series of changes and saw Austin, the Australian-born midfielder who dazzled in his first Super League season with Warrington in 2019, played two games in the wing – a position he has never played before.

Bennett, however, does not seem likely to be judged in a month with Lions alone, with Rugby Football League rugby director Kevin Sinfield saying the veteran coach's success with England – leading him to the World Cup final. World 2017 and leading him to a series victory over New Zealand last year – will be "taken into account".

BBC Experts on PNG Loss and Bennett's Future

Former Britain striker Jon Wilkin on BBC Two:

"You have retired Sam Burgess, Sean O'Loughlin isn't playing, Tommy Makinson – last year's Golden Boot winner – not present, Mark Percival – one of the best centers in the world – isn't there, Morgan Knowles is not in. I don't think that represents our best international team.

"What this exposes is that we have no depth. Once you define some of these main names, there is no depth in the cast.

"It was a bad tour, there's no getting around it. We defend ourselves very well today, but players admit that the performance levels in recent weeks just aren't there."

"When you're in the performance business, Wayne Bennett puts pressure on himself."

Former Britain International Jonathan Davies:

"He said he didn't get better, they turned back. If he thinks that, it will be very difficult to maintain his position. Now it's up to the RFL to decide if he's the man."

"I agree with Jon – next year, when they are home and have all the players available, England will be a much stronger team.

"For me, international rugby is about selection and I'm not sure he got it right. He didn't change defenders when they were bad all through the tour, and we have no leadership."

Robbie Hunter-Paul, Former New Zealand International:

"For me, from a continuity point of view, he needs to stay in office until 2021. I just don't think he fit right in Britain.

"I was looking for something different from Britain, but I haven't seen it over the four weeks."

Papua New Guinea: Johnston; Gebbie, Mead, Olam, Amean; Laybutt, Boas; W Albert, Puara Jr, Page, Put, Russell, Martin.

Substitutions: Ipape, Lo, S. Albert, Meninga.

Great Britain: Lomax; McGillvary, Hughes, Connor, Austin; Widdop, Hastings; Hill, Hodgson, Burgess, Bateman, Whitehead, Graham.

Substitutions: Thompson, Walmsley, Philbin, Williams.

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