EORL CRABTREE is hoping England and the Federation Shield will be taken far more seriously in the future.
The host nation became the inaugural winners of the competition when they beat Tonga 32-14 at Widnes.
It was a fitting climax to a highly competitive and well-organised event, with France and Samoa adding extra colour to the proceedings.
But Crabtree admits a lot of the gloss was taken off his side's final triumph by the poor turn-out for the Tongan showdown, with just 3,390 paying to watch.
And the Giants prop is hoping something can be done about it.
"Playing for England is a fantastic honour, and I loved every minute of it," said Crabtree, who played in all three group games as well as the final.
"But I just don't think England as a team get the credit - or the attention - we deserve.
"The quality of the squad is very high, with every player coming from a Super League club. After all, we're effectively the Great Britain `B' team.
"So to have just 3,390 turning up to watch the final of what was a fantastic competition was very disappointing.
"When many of this English side compete in front of five-figure crowds on a regular basis for their club, it seems strange that we attract so little support for such a high-quality representative fixture.
"I just hope something can be done in the future to make sure this changes.
"Having played in the Federation Shield, I know how good the standard is. I would have to say the games against Tonga are two of the hardest I have ever played in.
"I suppose it's a new competition and needs some time to establish itself.
"But if we can't build on this year, it would be an absolute travesty.
"It's about time England as a rugby league team was taken far more seriously."