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36 hours ago
Great Britain full-back Paul Wellens has said the future for British rugby league is still bright, despite the 44-4 thrashing by Australia in the Tri-Nations final.
The Lions were crushed in a totally one-sided encounter, dashing the hopes of thousands of British fans.
Three successive victories - one over Australia -had raised expectations to fever pitch.
But 40 minutes after kick-off at Elland Road, Great Britain trudged into the half-time break 38-0 down following a superlative Australia performance.
The tepid British performance added fuel to the well-rehearsed debate on the disparity between Super League and its Antipodean cousin, the NRL.
But only two weeks before the Super League was praised to the high heavens after the Lions' 24-12 victory against Australia in Wigan.
So it couldn't have all gone wrong in the space of a fortnight, could it?
Wellens, who plays his club rugby for St Helens, said things were not as bad as some people feared.
"They do have a lot more consistency in their competition. With their 12 teams, everyone can beat everyone," he told BBC Sport.
"We probably lack that in Super League, but it is improving every single year.
"We've seen that with the likes of Wakefield and Huddersfield progressing and challenging for the top six this year.
"As long as Super League keeps improving, there is no doubt the players over here are improving. We're definitely moving in the right direction."
Wellens' assured performances at full-back have been one of the revelations for Great Britain over the past six weeks.
Fresh from signing a four-year extension to his contract at St Helens in the summer, he now has his sights firmly on making the GB number one jersey his own.
"It's been a fantastic experience for me getting back into the international set-up and playing regularly again," added Wellens.
"Now I just want to get an extended run in the team."