Jake Connor hails “surreal” Denver experience after steering England to historical winadministrator
Debut star Jake Connor admitted he couldn’t remember much about England’s “surreal” ground-breaking clash in Denver.
Hull FC utility Connor climbed off the bench midway through the first half to spark a stirring comeback that saw Wayne Bennett’s men recover from 12-0 down to record an impressive win.
Connor scored a superb individual try and made two others, with fellow new cap Tommy Makinson and man of the match Elliott Whitehead also playing key roles.
But Connor conceded: “I can’t even remember what I’ve done in the game really, it’s that surreal.
“It was good to get on early – I thought the first few balls, I’m running.
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“When you do that a few times it opens the spaces and they’re worried about you running, and I managed to feed a few short leads for Elliott to go through.
“I enjoyed it – I’d love to do it again.”
The historical match at Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium went ahead despite opposition from several NRL clubs in Australia, with the likes of Sam Burgess speaking out publicly in support of the fixture.
A crowd of 19,320 saw Whitehead score twice along with Connor, Makinson, Ryan Hall and John Bateman, after early tries to Esan Marsters and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak had threatened to turn the American adventure into a nightmare for England.
Plans are in place to take the same fixture to America for the next two years and Burgess said: “We’ll continue with the same stance as players.
“I think we’ve seen how valuable it is, and the Kiwis got something out of it as well.
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“It’s worthwhile giving it a few more years to pick up a bit more momentum.
“Ask all the players, it’s been a fantastic experience and we saw a good game of football – overall it’s been a success.”
Burgess will have the full backing of coach Bennett, who said the battle to stage next year’s match “starts today”.
Bennett added: "If we don’t have a global product in 20 years we won’t have a product.
“Sport is changing that quickly and kids are growing up with all the sports around the world.
“I want to be in a market place where we can take rugby league people know about and they come and see it and want to play it.
"We have got to come back, we have got a great product.”