Bennett calls for more international games
WAYNE Bennett wants to see more elite international rugby league in the future after England claimed a 2-0 lead in their three-Test series with New Zealand.
After a two-point victory in Hull last weekend, England retained the Baskerville Shield with an impressive 20-14 victory in Liverpool on Sunday.
The Kiwis were ahead 14-6 in the second half and looked in control, but Bennett's men fought back with three tries to notch a thrilling win at Anfield.
After reaching the World Cup final last year and beating New Zealand three times in a row in 2018, England are a side on the rise.
A Great Britain tour is scheduled for 2019 but no matches against the world champions Kangaroos are expected to take place.
Bennett has called on the Rugby League International Federation, who meet this week in York, to push international rugby league to the forefront. "Australia do what they want to do," the England coach said.
"We'll be in that part of the world next year playing Test matches. It may not be against Australia. We've had a great
crowd here today and they were right behind the boys.
"Tonga's done some wonderful things and Samoa, we've just got to keep building on it. Try and get the politics out of it. The players just want to play and these guys have given so much.
"It's a great three-match series, I just hope the international federation has a strong meeting and stand up for the game, give us the products we all want to see - international football played by the very best."
New Zealand started strongly at the home of Liverpool FC and dominated the first half. England took an early 2-0 lead thanks to a Jake Connor penalty goal, but the Kiwis hit back through an opening try to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
New Zealand were camped on England's try-line but couldn't find a way through some desperate defence.
Then the hosts pulled off a sucker-punch after Tommy Makinson dived over right before half-time to level it at 6-6.
The Kiwis took the lead back four minutes into the second half when Watene-Zelezniak set up Ken Maumalo in the corner.
Shaun Johnson then added a penalty goal to give the visitors a 14-6 buffer. But England rallied late and Connor set up Makinson for his second with an audacious no-look pass.
Connor then tied the match up at 14-14 when he barged over to score, before Makinson brought up his hat-trick and sealed the victory with a fantastic solo try with six minutes on the clock.
The teams will meet at Elland Road on November 11 in the third Test with England keen to inflict a series whitewash.
New Zealand coach Michael Maguire cut a frustrated figure after the match. "There's a lot of hurt in the changing room," he said.
"The boys have had to learn some pretty harsh lessons over the last two games about what Test football is all about.
"We conceded a try before half-time again and in the second half made seven errors, whereas England were very clinical. That's the difference in Test match footy.
"England have been performing like that for quite some time. They have a very simple game plan, they complete high and they stay there for the 80 minutes, it's something we need to pick up on."