Tommy Makinson: Let’s take another England game to America

Drew Darbyshire

England star Tommy Makinson thinks there is a gap in the market for rugby league to be a hit in America.

Wayne Bennett’s England side beat New Zealand 36-18 in front of a crowd of almost 20,000 at the Mile High Stadium in Denver back in June.

It will not happen in 2019 though due to failure of payments to the RFL and NZRL from event promoter Moore Sports International, but St Helens winger Makinson believes the sport could definitely grow in the United States.

He told “I think we should cotton onto America and take it over there on a bigger scale.

“We could maybe take a few more games over there. They love contact sport and they loved it when they saw big Kiwis running into us English boys.

“I think it is something they will enjoy. The audience out there is absolutely massive so there is no reason why they wouldn’t enjoy rugby league.

“Maybe not Denver, but what about somewhere else? What about New York or another big city? For me, Denver was a success, but I wouldn’t take it back there. I’d take it somewhere else and try to spread the great game of rugby league.”

Makinson made his international debut in Denver and has been called up to Bennett’s side again as they face New Zealand in a three-match Test series on home soil this autumn.

The 27-year-old, who was also named in the 2018 Super League Dream Team, is hoping for selection again later this month.

He added: “To get that international recognition is what you play for at the end of the day.

“As a kid, I didn’t just want to play for Saints, I wanted to play for England mainly. To sign that anthem with my mates in different places is special and it doesn’t get much better than that for me.

“The trip to Denver was pretty unreal. The lads made it easy transitioning into a different side and to get a try and an assist on my debut was a dream come true.

“Playing the Kiwis in the States was great an I think a three-match series over here is something to really look forward to. It will be a real test against them and hopefully I get selected to play.”