Bennett under fire as PNG thump Great Britain

Great Britain's underwhelming tour of the southern hemisphere came to a humiliating end when they were condemned to a 28-10 defeat by Papua New Guinea.

The Lions raced into an early 10-0 lead but conceded a try on the stroke of half-time to give the Kumuls a sniff and they capitulated in alarming fashion in a dreadful second half as their hosts ran in four tries without reply.

Great Britain, whose brand was revived in eager anticipation after a 12-year absence, struggled to cope with the humidity of Port Moresby on Saturday and the physical challenge of the Kumuls as they succumbed to only a second defeat by Papua New Guinea.

The result, which followed an opening defeat by a Tongan Invitational XIII and a two-match Test series loss to the Kiwis, piles the pressure on beleaguered head coach Wayne Bennett, whose contract with the Rugby Football League has now expired.

Alex Johnston

Bennett has spoken of his desire to take England into the 2021 World Cup but it is difficult to see how he can survive a disastrous tour, culminating in a thrashing by a team containing just two NRL regulars and two who play in the third tier of the English game.

The Lions got off to the worst possible start, losing captain James Graham with a head knock in the very first tackle.

Yet it was a promising opening quarter from the tourists, with makeshift winger Blake Austin opening the scoring in the corner after 14 minutes.

Hooker Josh Hodgson then squeezed over for a second try after 21 minutes and Gareth Widdop added the conversion to extend their lead to 10-0.

Edwin Ipape incredible try

However, the Kumuls struck in stoppage time when substitute Edwin Ipape scored a breakaway try that turned the game.

PNG hit the front early in the second half when halfback Watson Boas beat Jermaine McGillvary to touch down a grubber kick then centre Justin Olam scored soon after to stretch the lead to 18-10.

There was no way back for Britain when fullback Alex Johnston notched his side's fourth try after 56 minutes before Nixon Putt completed the rout nine minutes later.

Earlier England's women conceded a last-minute Shirley Joe try to lose 20-16 to PNG and draw their two-match Test series with the Orchids in the curtain raiser.

Wayne Bennett

The result comes after English RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer was forced to defend Bennett earlier in the week after criticism over his side's performances.

"We'll do a debrief once the tour has finished and not before," Rimmer said.

"I won't pre-empt the outcome but what I will say is don't forget what Wayne has achieved as a coach."

"The review won't be purely on the playing side, there's all sorts of elements of the tour that we need to consider.

"That wrap will take place in December and the executive will make some recommendations to be put to the board early next year."

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