England on the right track

England's Chris Heighington scores a try and celebrates with Gareth Widdop and Sam Tomkins
England's Chris Heighington scores a try and celebrates with Gareth Widdop and Sam Tomkins

SAM Tomkins believes England’s heroic performance in defeat to Australia proves they are on the right track.

The Warriors ace played a big part in two tries in the 20-36 defeat at Wembley on Saturday.

Tomkins produced wonderful flicks from the back of his hand, the first resulting in Leeds winger Ryan Hall’s first and the second in Chris Heighington’s effort.

And he says the progress over the Autumn can be built on with victory over New Zealand on Saturday – and possibly a win over the Kangaroos in the Four Nations final.

He said: “I’m looking forward to facing New Zealand. It’s a special thing every time you play for your country and next week it’s a ‘Win or you’re out’ mentality.

“So we need to win and get to Elland Road the week after.

“I think we can beat Australia. We’re confident in our ability and if you look there are some great players in our team. We’re getting better every week.

“Look at our performance against France against that, we’re only getting better.”

England felt aggrieved after the loss, which leaves them having to beat New Zealand in Hull to make the final.

They pointed particularly to referee Henry Perenara, who did not send off Tony Williams for a horrific high shot on Warrington’s Ben Westwood.

He then ruled off a try by Hull’s Tom Briscoe for a double movement – but replays showed his ball-carrying arm never touched the ground.

But while Tomkins cursed the calls, especially Perenara’s refusal to use video referee Ian Smith on Briscoe’s effort, he said that was not the cause of the defeat.

He added: “We did get the wrong end of some decisions.

“It’s for the coach to decide on the referee’s performance but at this top level, you’ve got to nail every decision.

“That’s no excuse for us – we lost because we missed tackles and made errors.

“We can take positives from it. There’s no reason to be down and the scoreline probably flattered them a bit.

“It was a case of when it was in the balance a few things didn’t go our way.

“They’re no mugs – you’ve got to be on your game for 80 minutes. A few crucial errors and penalties at times cost us.

“But we certainly weren’t far off. It was a game we could’ve won but it’s not one that got away.

“The big screen is there to go but that one decision isn’t the reason why we lost.”

And the fact that he can put his finger on the areas where the game slipped away from England provides some comfort for Tomkins.

He said: “Ability’s not the reason we lost – it was errors and decisions.”