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Tom Burgess is tackled by the Kiwis.

In the immediate aftermath of being swept 3-0 on the New Zealand leg of their tour, Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett said his players have gone backwards since he last coached them as part of the England team in 2018. 

The Lions lost the opening match of the tour 14-6 to Tonga, were edged out 12-8 by New Zealand a week later and were then soundly beaten by the Kiwis 23-8 in Christchurch on Saturday night.

"I'm not happy we're going backwards. I think we have gone backwards a little bit on what last year and the World Cup year was, compared to [how] we played this series," Bennett said.

"We are back to the way we were in 2016 I feel, when I first came in as coach.

"We just aren't respecting the opposition enough to realise how much discipline we have got to play with.

"We didn't get off on the right foot against Tonga two weeks ago and we just kind of haven't picked it up

"They get desperate [with 20 minutes to go in the game]… I want them to be desperate from the kick-off.

Match Highlights: New Zealand v Great Britain

"We weren't bad but we weren't in the place where we should have been to start the game tonight, and they got a try in the first 10 minutes.

"Next year and the World Cup year are the prime years… so if we have to have a bit of a stumble this is the year to do it in."

With his contract as England head coach expiring at the end of next week, Bennett said he is still unsure if he will coach them in 2020.

England will host a three-game Ashes series against the Kangaroos next year ahead of the 2021 World Cup.

"That's a decision they [the RFL] have got to make. My contract finishes next week, so we will see what they want to do," Bennett said. 

The Lions now head to Papua New Guinea to play the Kumuls in Port Moresby in the final match of their tour on Saturday. 

Already down on troops following a number of injuries to members of their squad, Great Britain will be sweating on the availability of Raiders back-rower John Bateman who was placed on report for a dangerous tackle in the 54th minute of the loss to the Kiwis. 

Meanwhile Bennett defended makeshift winger Blake Austin after a mixed performance in his Test debut.

A specialist five-eighth, Austin was asked to fill the void on the left flank for the Lions following the withdrawal of Zak Hardaker with a shoulder injury and he struggled under the high ball in the opening exchanges.

A dropped bomb from the former Raiders, Tigers and Panthers player gifted New Zealand with possession for their first points, while he was taken into touch in the lead up with Joseph Manu's 12th-minute try.

"Blake was really good for someone who hasn't played much wing," Bennett said.

"I thought he was one of our best ball carries actually (running for 155 metres). He made a real contribution."

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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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