Makinson stars as England take series

TOMMY MAKINSON scored a hat-trick of tries as England beat New Zealand 20-14 at Anfield to claim the series with a Test to spare.

England, whose other scorer was Jake Connor, were twice trailing, but finished strongly to take the spoils in front of a 26,234 crowd in Liverpool.

The first half finished level at 6-6.

Hull’s Connor edged England ahead with an early penalty goal following Jesse Bromwich’s late hit on Sam Tomkins.

But after eight minutes, the Kiwis went ahead as skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak scored for the second Test running and Shaun Johnson added the conversion.

Johnson had a try disallowed by the video referee while England’s George Burgess was held up before St Helens star Makinson crossed wide out on the left just before the break to level things up.

New Zealand were back in front five minutes into the second half as Ken Maumalo crossed.

Johnson added the extras, then kicked a penalty goal for a 14-6 lead.

But England responded on 58 minutes when Makinson went in for his second from Connor’s clever pass.

Tom Burgess had a try disallowed by the video referee, but there was no stopping Connor, who crossed to level after 63 minutes – then hit a post with his conversion attempt.

With six minutes remaining, Makinson forced his way through to stretch out and touch down, with the video referee backing the on-field decision that the scorer had control of the ball as it hit the turf.

Tomkins added the conversion – then had a field-goal attempt charged down.

The sides meet again at Elland Road, Leeds next Sunday.

England: Lomax, Makinson, Connor, Gildart, McGillvary, Williams, Tomkins, T Burgess, Hodgson, Graham, Bateman, Whitehead, Thompson. Subs: Milner, Hill, G Burgess, Clark.

New Zealand: Watene-Zelezniak, Maumalo, Marsters, Manu, Rapana, Johnson, Nikorima, J Bromwich, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Proctor, Liu, Blair. Subs: K Bromwich, Ah Mau, Taupau, Fisher-Harris.

Full report and reaction in Monday’s League Express.