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Makinson hat-trick seals England series win over Kiwis

England have fought back from an eight-point deficit in the second half to score three tries and seal the series win with a 20-14 victory over the Kiwis in the second Test at Anfield on Sunday.

Tommy Makinson crossed for a hat-trick of tries in the dramatic win after the Kiwis jumped out to a 14-6 advantage midway through the second half.

Makinson broke the 14-14 deadlock with six minutes left on the clock with a sharp and weaving effort coming back inside the Kiwis' ruck to charge over the line, using fingertip control to ground the ball, which was reviewed by the video referee.

Two errors from Jordan Rapana midway through the second half swung the momentum for England with opposite number Makinson's second try and Jake Connor's four-pointer ensuring the game was set up for a grandstand finish with a strong effort down the short side.

Rapana's afternoon got worse as England rallied late with the Raiders winger taken from the field with what appeared to be a serious arm injury.

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire said the severity of the injury would be known in coming days but lauded Rapana's effort to remain on the field. 

Hat-trick hero Makinson man of the match

"He did that in the first half, we've got inspirational players doing that stuff within the team," Maguire said.

"He stayed out there and came up with some big plays, unfortunately at the end he had to come off.

"England to their credit capitalised on that space and worked away to come back. We had a back-rower in the centres isolated and they got the try off the back of that."

The Kiwis will rue their inability to score points in the opening half with scores level at 6-6 at the break - the visitors had three disallowed tries and had a weight of possession and territory behind them.

But ultimately their final quarter proved a nightmare in a repeat finish to last week's effort in Hull after skipping out to a lead.

The tone of the clash was set from the start as both teams came together in the early stages after Jesse Bromwich put a late shot on Sam Tomkins off the ball to enable a penalty goal through Connor.

England celebrate their series win at Anfield.
England celebrate their series win at Anfield. ©Bernard Platt/NRL Photos

The battle continued with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Josh Hodgson trading minor blows to cause another run-in between the sides.

When the game eventually got into a groove, New Zealand looked the strongest early to dominate in most areas but failed to convert enough opportunities into points after their first try.

The visitors made light work of England's defence in the eighth minute with a back-line movement finished off by Watene-Zelezniak, who split Tomkins and Oliver Gildart on the left edge.

DWZ: We weren’t good enough

New Zealand went close to adding to their four-point advantage minutes later with Rapana denied twice through some desperate England defence.

England toiled and struck before the interval in similar fashion to last week's clash in Hull with Makinson finishing off a slick cut-out pass from George Williams for his first of the afternoon.

Kiwis back-rower Kevin Proctor was next to be denied by some brute England defence as three disallowed tries failed to offer a true reflection of the dominance Michael Maguire's side generated in the opening half.

England fullback Jonny Lomax tries to get past New Zealand half Kodi Nikorima at Anfield.
England fullback Jonny Lomax tries to get past New Zealand half Kodi Nikorima at Anfield. ©Bernard Platt/NRL Photos

The Kiwis skipper ahead with a converted try and penalty goal nine minutes into the second half.

Kodi Nikorima linked with Watene-Zelezniak to split the defence and send Ken Maumalo over in the corner, before a coach-killing offside call on the line enabled the Kiwis an additional two points.

But England rallied, as they did in Hull with the Anfield crowd sniffing a comeback.

Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith at Anfield.
Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith at Anfield. ©Bernard Platt/NRL Photos

They went delirious as a Tomkins kick was fumbled by Rapana in-goal with no one around him, but the Kiwis held their nerve to deny a charging Tom Burgess, who spilled the ball over the line.

Another error from Rapana, who complained of a strip in the middle of the field, allowed England to level the scores with a short-side play from Canberra pair Hodgson and Whitehead sending Connor over in the corner.

The comeback was complete late, handing England a 2-0 series win and the Baskerville Shield, and leaving New Zealand with another game left to salvage a victory from the tour. 

"There's a lot of belief and commitment in this team," England coach Wayne Bennett said.

"I think last year's World Cup in Australia was a great moment for the guys. They got a lot of belief in Australia.

"They're all growing and going in the right direction. We're not going to get over confident but are doing a lot of things right."

England's only concern was a fractured rib to Daryl Clark, who is in doubt for the final Test at Elland Road next week.

News and Notes: England's Daryl Clark left the field with a suspected rib fracture ... New Zealand's Jordan Rapana suffered a shoulder injury with scans to determine the extent of the injury ... New Zealand's third loss in a row to England is their worst string of losses since 2007 ... Crowd: 26,234.

Acknowledgement of Country

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