As Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos and St Helens stars took to the field against Tonga for the opening test, there was one huge star missing.
Arguably England’s best player at last year’s World Cup, Dom Young was named in Shaun Wane’s 24 man England squad but the winger was absent for the first game.
This is because it was revealed that the former Huddersfield Giants flyer and Wakefield born winger has been with an infection.
He is already a doubt for the next test and the third one at Huddersfield and Headingley respectively.
He said: “We’re checking on him early in this week but he’s looking doubtful.”
No update on his condition was provided.
Fortunately, England were helped along by a two try performance from another winger in the shape of Tom Johnstone.
The Catalans winger spoke after the game about playing for England for the first time in five years: “Yeah it was great, just wearing the jersey, it’s something I’ve been aiming for over those five years and it was pretty special but I wouldn’t say it was a match-winning try, I think everyone did it.
“Look at Mike and others, they’ve done all the hard work and us wingers put the ball down and get a bit of glory at the end.
“It was pretty special just in the moment. It was more during the anthem that got me a little bit, looking up at family and everyone who has been there for me over the past few years, it was a real special moment to me.”
On nailing down the spot for this series, he said: “Yeah, definitely. I always want to be starting for England and to get the opportunity I want to try and take it with both hands I want to keep going with it.”
The attitude of Johnstone is reflective of the squad and Shaun Wane said of the spirit in the game:
“Yeah, I don’t say this lightly, it’s just like carrying on from the World Cup in terms of the spirit.
“Chris Hill has just said that to me in the dressing room, it’s not changed the spirit in the team and even though we’ve got loads and loads of changes it’s just been really really enjoyable and I love these weeks.
“Three weeks in camp with the lads and when it comes to an end I’m sad and I don’t want to go home, even though I have a good home life. Yeah so it’s enjoyable, really, really enjoyable crack when we’re not on the field.
“When we’re on the field it’s full on, we train hard, we lift heavy, we bleed. But when it’s enjoyable time, then we’re a really, really good set of lads who have respect for our hotel.
“They understand me as a person, what I’m obsessed about. We have a good crack.”