Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell has expressed his disappointment at Michael Shenton being dropped from the England team, but has been pleased with what he has seen from his new half-back Ben Roberts in the Samoan colours in the Four Nations tournament.
Tigers skipper Shenton scored a try and got a vital touch to set up another as England beat Samoa in their opening game, but after initially being picked in the 17 for the second match was left out for Wigan’s Dan Sarginson, who has now retained his place in the team to face New Zealand this Saturday.
Powell said: “It was disappointing to see Michael Shenton dropped last week.
“I thought he defended really well against a tough centre – you only have to see what he did to Kenny-Dowall in the game against the Kiwis.
“I thought Michael did pretty well and he’ll be disappointed to be dropped.
“Daryl Clark had a great start to his international career, walking onto the field to be presented with the sort of situation he’s been fantastic at taking with Castleford.
“It was great for him and I thought both of them did well.
“I thought Clarky was good again last week.
“England were unlucky against Australia.
“They were the better side in the first half. “The week before against Samoa they thought they had a fair bit to work on and they improved significantly against the Australians.
“The second half performance just fell away to be honest, but I thought we should have won the game. If we’d had a little bit more confidence in the way we played in the second half then I think we would have won the game.
“They stole it from us a little bit at the back end.
“If we had have gone on how we were playing in the first half we would have been too good for them.
“It’s pretty disappointing, but they live to fight another day and have a massive game now against the Kiwis.
“They’ll be looking to respond after being below par against the Samoa and the boys are going to have to step up and make sure we get over the top of the Kiwis.”
Castleford new boy Roberts played against England for Samoa and has retained his place in the team after solid displays that have impressed his new club head coach.
Powell added: “Ben Roberts has been going well, he’s been playing in pretty solid team performances, he set a try up last week and he’s defended really well.
“He’s shown good signs at the top level in the game and shown Cas fans some of what he can do.
“They’ll be pleased with what they’ve seen as he’s a player who’s really committed. He’s pretty strong and he’s handled the top level of the game well. It will be great to get him into our system and get him working with the boys.
“We’re hoping he will get here on November 20 when his commitments with Samoa are over.
“It will be good to get him over and get him into what we do.”