England captain Sean O’Loughlin says he will do everything he can to be available for the third Test – but admits he chances of playing are “slim”, writes Phil Wilkinson.
The 35-year-old missed Sunday’s second Test with a calf injury which has plagued his season with Wigan Warriors.
He started the opening Test in Hull, which England won 18-16, but withdrew early and missed Sunday’s series-clinching victory in Liverpool.
O’Loughlin will remain in camp this week and undergo treatment but said: “I’ve probably got a slim chance but realistically I may struggle.
“I’ll crack on this week and see how it goes.”
He was resigned to the role of spectator at Anfield as England clinched the series with a come-from-behind 20-14 victory.
“It was a nervous watch but an enjoyable game, very tense,” said O’Loughlin, who last week formally signed a new one-year deal with Wigan for 2019.
“It’s good to get the series wrapped up.
“The Kiwis started the second-half really strong but I knew we were in reaching distance, international games are like that and hang in and hope momentum swings back your way.”
The RFL are expecting a bumper crowd at Leeds’ Elland Road as England target a 3-0 whitewash against Michael Maguire’s New Zealand outfit.
With George Burgess suspended for four games for gouging, and hooker Daryl Clark out with a broken rib, Warriors’ Joe Greenwood and Warrington ace Stefan Ratchford – a former St Pats junior – may come into the frame.
Australian Gerard Sutton has been appointed to referee the match (kick-off 3.15pm) ahead of Robert Hicks, who took control of the first game.