Wayne Bennett on England star he would’ve loved to have seen in NRL

Drew Darbyshire
Wayne Bennett England SWpix

Former England coach Wayne Bennett says he would have loved to have seen St Helens winger Tommy Makinson play in the NRL.

When recalling England’s series win over New Zealand in 2018 on James Graham’s The Bye Round Podcast, the NRL supercoach said he was a massive admirer of Makinson.

“We had 10 players missing from the World Cup pulling out, not because they didn’t want to be there but because of injuries,” Bennett said.

“There were so many good players that weren’t there but we just pulled together as a group.

“We won at Hull in a tough game. Guys stood up who I had not heard a lot about. We went to Liverpool and what a wonderful game that was.

“Tommy Mak was in a league of his own, who I highly regard as a player.”

Makinson has scored 164 tries in 281 appearances for Super League champions St Helens, who is contracted to until at least the end of 2024.

LIONS: Wayne Bennett reveals the mistake he made with Sam Tomkins

I would have loved to have seen him play in Australia: Wayne Bennett on Makinson

Makinson, who has made five appearances for England, was a standout performer in England’s series win over the Kiwis.

“He was a 9.5, (out of 10)” Bennett told James Graham’s The Bye Round Podcast. “I just love what he brings, he was so good.

“I would have loved to have seen him play in Australia. I’m pleased he plays in England and I’m really happy for him, but he’s just a special player.

“I got asked the other day what is the difference between coaching Queensland in Origin and England, but it’s no different. England players are just as passionate.

“You (Graham) and Sam (Burgess) did a great job with that team. I just came in on the back of that. You were a special group of guys, you were committed.

“Playing for your country meant so much to you. It was a bit of an eye-opener for me about what it meant to you all and the sacrifices you made to go back over there and play long seasons. It is one of the highlights of my career.”

PODCASTPaul Rowley on potent Salford, Leigh for SL, Toronto experience & remembering Ricky

FOLLOW: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app and podcast