England v New Zealand – Entertainment and intensity levels only going to increase, says Josh Hodgson

Englands Josh Hodgson. Picture: Chris Mangnall/SWpix.com
Englands Josh Hodgson. Picture: Chris Mangnall/SWpix.com
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ENGLAND hooker Josh Hodgson promises even more “entertainment” in the ongoing series with New Zealand as he believes both sides are only going to get better.

The rivals meet for the second Test at Anfield on Sunday with the hosts having taken the upper hand courtesy of an 18-16 victory in the opener last weekend.

It was a quality affair to kick-off the series which ends with the third Test at Leeds United’s Elland Road on Sunday, November 11.

“Everyone turned up one to 17 and did a great job,” said former Hull KR star Hodgson.

“When you’ve got your team, all scoring seven or eights out of 10, you’ve got a fair chance of going on to win.

“In the first game sometimes players have not played alongside each other for a while and you’re still trying to click a little bit.

“But if that’s anything to go by it was a great test, fantastic to watch and I’m sure as the tournament goes on it will get more and more entertaining.

“We’re all looking forward to Liverpool now.”

The Canberra Raiders player, who turns 29 today, conceded he was “emotional” playing the Kiwis back in his home city at the KCOM Stadium, where he started his career with Hull FC.

“When I was waiting for the ball to be kicked off I saw my son and daughter in the crowd plus my wife and brother and his family,” said Hodgson, who left Rovers for the NRL in a £100,000 deal four years ago.

“It was really emotional for me. As soon as I got the ball I was straight into game mentality but it was a really special feeling to have my kids watching me in my hometown for the first time.

“It meant a lot and to get the win made it all the more special.”

It was also Hodgson’s first England appearance since undergoing a knee reconstruction, cruelly missing the 2017 World Cup final having suffered the injury in the epic semi-final victory over Tonga.

James Roby started, instead, against Australia in Brisbane last December but the St Helens hooker has, in turn, missed the current series having decided to undergo shoulder surgery.

He was presented with the 2018 Ray Fletcher Player of the Year award – in honour of the former Yorkshire Post journalist – by the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters’ Association yesterday.

Roby, 32, admitted: “I’m coming to the back end and might not get many more chances so it was a big decision.

“But I felt I had to look after myself for the long-term if I’m to play for two, three maybe four more years.

“And when other lads are chomping at the bit to play, I’d be doing a bit of injustice to them when I know deep down I needed to get it sorted. It’s not as if we’re making do; we’ve got people who are as good if not better so I think it was the right decision.”

Warrington’s former Castleford Tigers star Daryl Clark, Man of Steel in 2014, was drafted into the squad and impressed off the bench against the threatening Kiwis.

But Roby wants a shirt back for next year especially with plans to revive Great Britain and a potential Lions tour to the southern hemisphere.