Castleford Tigers hooker Daryl Clark celebrated a stunning international debut on Saturday in Brisbane, when he came off the bench in the 20th minute and with his first touch of the ball created a try for his Tigers’ captain Michael Shenton.
Clark, who will join Warrington next season, had come on to replace the starting hooker Josh Hodgson. His first play was to go to dummy-half, where he collected the ball and dashed downfield, sidestepping the Samoan captain David Fa’alogo.
Shenton roared up in support, and was there to take the pass for an equalising try at a key point in the game.
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“It was fast. I had just come off the sidelines and there was a quick play-the-ball, and I just jumped on it and tried my best,” Clark told League Express.
“I didn’t really think. I just thought about getting to the play-the-ball. I saw the marker was not back and I just went, and luckily it was the right time to go and it paid off.
“Shenny is smart. As soon as I picked it up I could hear him. There was no way I wasn’t passing it. He was screaming to let me know he was there.”
Later in the game Clark suffered what could have been a nasty back injury in a tackle by Samoan loose forward Josh McGuire.
Clark said: “My back stiffened up a little after that tackle near half-time and I rolled my ankle, but it’s nothing big, I am all right. There was a bit of a dead calf, but nothing major.
“When I was going back it was not a good feeling, it was a scary moment. My back was sore, but when I realised it was nothing serious I was pretty pleased.”
Fortunately for England, Clark appears to have suffered no lasting effects from the tackle, and is likely to be fit to face Australia in Melbourne on Sunday.
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He realises, however, that improvement will be needed if England are to win and send Australia reeling out of the Four Nations tournament.
“I thought we were good in patches, but not consistent enough throughout the whole game,” said Clark.
“We know there are things to improve on. I’m sure we’ll be working on that this week, and there will be a big improvement on Sunday.
“Australia are the world champions, and we know they have a few players missing. But we know they are going to be a very strong Aussie side. We’re going to have to get a lot of work in because it will be a massive step up.”