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New Zealand test series England player ratings

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Here are my player ratings for the New Zealand test series.  All my own opinion and I fully expect people to disagree!

Jonny Lomax - 6.5: Lomax was solid under the high ball and as  the series went on he injected himself into the line more and showed some creativity.  But he simply doesn't have the pace to be a genuinely world class full back and lacks any threat on the ball return and with ball in hand.

Tommy Makinson - 9.5: A great series for Makinson.  He showed bravery in defence and under the high ball.  He brought the ball away from his own line with real energy and bravery and showed his finishing ability.  England's player of the series.

Jake Connor - 8: Got the better of Manu in the first two games which helped England to clinch the series.  Very creative and dangerous with ball in hand but needs to read the game a little better in defence.

Oliver Gildart - 7: Defensively sound and worked hard.  Scored the winning try in the first test which was vital for England but came up with a few errors in game 2 and seemed to lack confidence after that.  Will get better as an international player as he is a real talent.

Jermaine McGilvary - 7.5: Got very few attacking chances in the series and looked unusually erratic in defence in the final test but as usual his work rate was huge running for an average of 160 metres per game across the series which helped get England on the front foot in their sets.

George Williams - 8: Has so many good attributes.  He is a strong and elusive ball runner and a strong defender.  He threw a number of very good long passes and has the best attacking short kicking game in the England team.  He is not an organiser and so requires a good organising 7 alongside him but when he gets this he is a very creative and dangerous stand off.

Sam Tomkins - 8.5: Took on the chief organiser and kicking role in games 1 and 2 and his absence was notable in game 3.  As always he was dangerous with ball in hand.

Tom Burgess - 9: Just edged Thompson as England's best middle forward.  Ran for over 400 metres in the series and topped the post contact metres as well.  When he was on the park England had noticeably better go forward.  Critically he cut out the errors which have previously impacted his overall game.

Josh Hodgson - 6.5: Was poor in game one (despite a huge defensive effort) but was better in game two.  Still not as effective for England as he is for Canberra.

James Graham - 8.5: The old warhorse.  You can never criticise his effort and his passion and leads from the front.  Along with Burgess (and Thompson in game 2) he helped England match a big and passionate Kiwi pack during the initial arm wrestle.  After a number of misses internationally and club level it was great to see Graham lift a trophy as captain.

John Bateman - 8.5: Tough as nails and a true competitor.  Filled in at centre when needed previously for England but thrived in his natural edge forward role.  Great offload for Gildart to score the winner in game 1 and ran well for the series.  Some poor defensive reads means he was not quite as good as Whitehead.

Elliot Whitehead - 9: proved himself again to the one of the best edge forwards in the game.  Huge work rate and defensively very sound.  He has the ability to pull out some real big plays just when they are needed.  Surely the first name on the team sheet nw.

Luke Thompson - 9: The break out English forward.  Fearless running really took it to the Kiwis in the first two games and was England's best forward in the series winning second test.

Richie Myler - 5.5: Tried to get involved in game 3 and had to play behind a beaten pack but didn't show any signs of unlocking the Kiwi defence.

Chris Hill - 7: Was solid off the bench in the first two games but disappointed in game 3.

George Burgess - 5.5: Not at his best in the first two games (running for just 29 and 69 metres) and had the slowest play the ball of the English middle forwards.  Deservedly banned for a horrible incident.

Daryl Clark - 7: Only got 35 minutes of game time across games 1 and 2 but the effort in both attack and defence had an impact at critical times.

Adam Milner - 6: Got 11 minutes in game 2 and 22 minutes in game 3 and was showed how being a middle forward in international rugby is a huge step up from the club game.  Struggled with the size of the New Zealand pack.

Stefan Racthford - 6.5: No real chance to impress coming on in game three with England being dominated.

Joe Greenwood - 6: Discovered how much tougher the physical contest is in the middle of the park.  Tried hard but was dominated physically. in the middle.

Sean O'Loughlin - 6: Only lasted 14 minutes of the series.  A disappointing way for him to potentially bow out of the international game.

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I won't go through everyone but I will just add to a few things you have written.

I aren't the biggest fan of Lomax and wouldn't have had him in my 17 if I'm honest, but I thought he had a decent series. Really solid under the high ball, positioning was good and he made a few good contributions in attack.

Makinson was exceptional. I struggle to remember ever seeing a better all round performance from a winger than the one he put in at Anfield. We bang on about Holmes and Rapana and Addo Carr but I haven't ever seen any of them put in a performance like that. Really announced himself on the international stage.

Connor has had a lot of plaudits. I am a Hull fan and I think Jake is an exceptional player, but for me his talents were wasted a little bit. His tries and his assist for Makinson were good, but thats just the sort of thing he does week in week out, thats why he is in the team, because he makes things happen. He did a good job containing Manu imo, but as I have said before, if you want someone who's primary goal is to be solid and defend well then you don't pick Connor. If you want to really see what he can do you either need to play him at 6 (or even 1) or you need to get the ball to the flanks more often. All that said I think he proved he is more than capable of playing at this level.

Whitehead is an absolute star. Don't think I need to say anything else about him.

Thompson should have been Man of Steel and he continued his form into these tests. Absolutely fearless and a handful every time he has the ball. He reminds me of Jamie Thackray circa 2005 (albeit a better version). He just launches himself into every collision with zero regard for his safety. It's hard not to like a player like that.

T. Burgess, Graham and Bateman were all great, but we knew that anyway.

The biggest disappointment was Hodgson. He is supposed to be one of our stars and leaders, but he was rubbish in game 1. Played much better in game 2, and went back to pretty rubbish in game 3. Roby is a far superior player in every way imo. 

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I think Thompson should consider his approach, unless he wants to burn out pretty quickly. I am sure his young Aussie club coach will be on the case, but there are only so many times a lad can run flat out at bigger lads.

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There were one or two Kiwi forwards bigger than Thompson  but there are hardly any in SL. He's been exceptional in SL and the Kiwi tests. Automatic for Intl selection now.   

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Here's mine:

Lomax - 7 -  I've never been convinced by Lomax at this level. His best attribute at international level is that he deals with kicks very well, and that continued in this series. But, from the second test onwards, he started injecting himself in the line, causing New Zealand defenders to retreat and used his passing skills effectively. His best performances in an England shirt by a distance (apologies to the Wigan fan on here who seems to think Lomax is the devil incarnate), but still some concerns about his one on one tackling against big men once they break through.

Makinson - 9 - An excellent series and well-deserved man of the series award. He took a few huge hits taking the ball out but got up again quickly. New Zealand peppered him with kicks, even though it became clear after the first game that he was solid. His finishing was excellent and absolutely dominated his opposite numbers. He is small for an international winger but his performances belied his size.

Connor - 7 - I don't think centre is his best position. We heard a lot about Manu before the series but Connor kept him quiet, which is an achievement in itself. He offered a good attacking threat, scoring a couple of tries, but his highlight has to be that flick pass to Makinson at Anfield last week, which was top class.

Gildart - 7 - A good first test, with a brilliant try to cap it off, a defining moment for the series and one that was critical to our eventual victory. He was poor in the second test and non-descript in the third. A decent enough start to his international career though and I'm sure he'll keep improving with time at this level.

McGillvary - 7 - A different role for him in this test series. His performances weren't as headline-grabbing as in previous years. Probably not as noticeable as in previous years, but still made some key contributions with his clearing runs from our own line which attracted a number of New Zealand defenders.

Williams - 8 - Another that has never impressed me at international level until this series. He took more responsibility with his kicking, with his very accurate short kicking game proving fruitful. Possibly more impressive was his passing game, his pass selection was far improved on what I've seen before.

Tomkins - 8 - I was a little worried about running with Tomkins at 7 for the series when he's played at 1 all season. He stepped up though and showed good organisational skills.

Graham - 7 - Solid performances without being spectacular. Glad to see him rewarded with the captaincy.

Hodgson - 7 - Average at best in tests 1 and 3. Excellent in test 2 and added another element to our performance with a number of precision kicks. He's always underwhelmed at hooker for me at international level and looked better when he reverts to 13. 

T Burgess - 8 - Leader of the pack. Attracted defenders and made great metres. New Zealand have a huge pack and his starts meant that we didn't often get dominated. Even in the third test, I don't think it's a coincidence that we fell off when he left the field.

Whitehead - 9 - Magnificent again. Rightly nominated for the Golden Boot. He seems as though he played big minutes and if I recall correctly won man of the match in game 1, and if he didn't, then he should have! His ball steal in game 2 even caused Wayne Bennett to elicit some emotion, a feat that I can't recall anyone in the sport ever achieving!

Bateman - 6 - I was a little disappointed with Bateman, to be honest. I felt that his running wasn't direct enough, was quite lateral and found himself out of position in defence a couple of times.. He certainly showed that competitive edge and ran in to defend his team mates when needed, and made an excellent contribution in game 1 with a fantastic offload to release Gildart.

Thompson - 8 - As he always does for Saints, he ran without fear. If you run with that much vigour as a prop, you won't go far wrong. He wasn't intimidated by the big New Zealand forwards. He played in the unfamiliar position of 13, but in a familiar style. In terms of a debut series, he did well.

Hill - 8 - I was really impressed with Hill. I think he flourished compared to his club performances, possibly as he wasn't expected to be the leading man as he is at Warrington. He made positive contributions in games 1 and 2 and kept the Kiwi pack working over.

G Burgess - 4 -  He lost his place for RLWC 2017, and based on his performances this year, I wouldn't be tempted to put him in next year. If Walmsley recovers to normal levels or if someone like Scott Taylor has a good season, both would be better replacements. His go forward was poor and he let himself down with a very dangerous gouge.

Clarke - 7 - He made a positive contribution in test 1, and added a lot more speed to the ruck and released Hodgson to play in a more effective role. A shame he got injured which limited his game time.

Milner - 6 - Got caught ball watching a couple of times in defence leading to New Zealand breaks. Didn't make too many errors with the ball though and seemed to slot into the side well.

Greenwood - 5 - Possibly a harsh score considering he was played out of position. He's far more effective running wider than down the middle, a reflection on how he was played than himself. 

Myler - 5 - Non-descript. Played to the best of his ability, but he's not international class.

Ratchford - 6 - Hard to judge with a lack of game time, didn't have time to make any impact really.

O Loughlin - 6 - As above.

Edited by Chris22
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