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England international Jermaine McGilvary isn't a name well known to rugby league fans outside the Northern Hemisphere. 

The Huddersfield Giants winger had never been to Australia before the weekend's Pacific Test match after Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett came calling with an offer he couldn't refuse earlier in the year – the chance to join his English teammates down under for some much-needed match practice before the Rugby League World Cup in October.

Admitting his form was down and hardly warranted selection in the England line-up for the 2016 Four Nations, the 28-year-old told of how Bennett's show of loyalty put a sense of belief back into his game from the other side of the world.

"He's a special kind of guy," McGilvary said of Bennett.

"Since I've played under him for England I feel like I can't let him down, he puts so much faith in you especially in the Four Nations [last season].

"My side [Huddersfield] were at the bottom of the table [in 2016] and I don't think I had a good season personally and he even said that to me. 

"He told me he didn't pick me on form but because he knew what I could do and said any mistakes I make he would cop. 

"I had a decent Four Nations in the end and now here we are and my team is struggling again and I wouldn’t say I'm setting Super League alight but I'm trying hard and don't think I let him down."

Bennett's decision to choose Gold Coast Titans back-rower Chris McQueen to make his international debut for England brought criticism towards the premiership-winning coach and McGilvary's selection was also questioned when the squad was trimmed to 17 players just days leading into the clash, but he returned serve with a players' player performance racking up over 182 metres and a four-pointer at the death in the 20-point victory over Samoa.

"In England everyone has an opinion, it doesn’t matter what sport you play. Even when I wasn't in the squad there was talk from fans on why this player or that player wasn't named because they were in good form," he said.

"In my opinion if you were picking on form then you'd pick a different team every single game. You can't have a team where you're killing it all year. 

"It doesn't matter what team he (Bennett) picks, he will still receive stick. We've just got to make sure we work hard for him and get results to silence some people."

With the Rugby League World Cup still six months away, it was rare to see the English jersey on Australian shores during the middle of the NRL Telstra Premiership season.

So, how did the Huddersfield-born winger find the whole trip after experiencing both the eastern and western suburbs of Sydney for the first time?

"It's just really different here… when I went out for warm up it was really hard to breathe, something about the air. It was humid. Great preparation in a game sense though," he said.

"The furthest I had ever been in my life was Dubai, so this trip was an extra 14 hours. I was struggling for the first three days in bed sleeping with jetlag while everyone else was at the beach. 

"I've never seen so many Samoan and Tongans in one spot either. When I play games I'm always scared at the start and I was looking around at everyone screaming for Samoa and just thought this is why I play rugby league.

"They were real hostile and I really enjoy that. Overall I just took the whole thing in. Hopefully my young lads back home saw my last try if they were still awake.

"But overall it was a great experience… the boys living here in Australia really helped out and we spent valuable time together that will help for when we come back in October."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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