England coach Wayne Bennett believes half-back Luke Gale put in a strong performance in Saturday’s Four Nations defeat to New Zealand – but he “let a few things slip by” at Huddersfield.
Gale partnered with Gareth Widdop in the halves for the second consecutive game last weekend, but it was in vain as England slumped to a 17-16 loss to the Kiwis to hamper their chances of reaching the Four Nations final.
And although Bennett admitted he was pleased with the Castleford half-back’s defensive efforts, he believed that Gale may have lost his way a little – but confirmed that he is a big fan of the scrum-half.
“In defence I thought Luke was outstanding; he’s not got a reputation for that over here but he was really good,” he said.
“I just thought that he lost his way a little bit. It was his first big match for England and he just let a few things slip by. He’s a very talented football player and I said to him today I just want him to have the ball in his hands a bit more.”
Bennett also delivered a mixed verdict on Widdop’s performance at half-back.
He said: “Gareth has been in the NRL for a long time and he did some really good things, but there were also some things I wished he didn’t do.”