EORL CRABTREE’S performance was one of the major positives for England against Australia.
That was the view of national coach Tony Smith after the 27-year-old Giants prop’s first senior Test run-out against the mighty Kangaroos.
And the former Huddersfield chief has already hinted Crabtree’s display has put him in the driving seat to face New Zealand at the Galpharm Stadium on Saturday.
“I was very pleased with his performance. He was given an opportunity and he took it pretty well,” said Smith.
“I thought he lifted us as soon as he was introduced and his contribution throughout the game was good.
“He obviously adds another dimension for us, which is why he’s there.
“It’s not just for his size, it’s for the way he is able to get the second phase going for us, and he did a sound job there.
“I know it’s early days and I obviously haven’t made any team selections yet for the game against New Zealand, but Eorl is one of the people who has already put his hand up for the cause.”
As well as giving Crabtree his first taste of Test action against the Australians, Smith was also the first coach to give the front-row forward a senior call at Huddersfield.
And Smith is delighted to have seen the way Crabtree has progressed over the years.
“I’m quite proud and also very pleased for him with the way his career has developed,” added Smith.
“It seems a very long time ago now that I was playing him in the centre for us in the old NFP (2002)!
“He’s always been a monster of a young man and to have seen the paths he has had to take for him to reach international status is a real credit to him.
“There’s no doubt he’s done incredibly well, but there’s also a lot more still to come from him yet.”
Although Crabtree was one of England’s top performers, his efforts were unable to prevent his side from suffering a 26-16 defeat.
The damage was done in the opening half as the tourists opened up a 26-0 lead, which left Smith bitterly disappointed.
“We just left ourselves too much to do,” he admitted.
“Some of it was some very good play from Australia early on in the game, but they exploited some areas in our team and they took advantage of some situations too.
“If you just slightly show them the door they will barge their way through it. That is what they did in the first half.
“We felt we could do a whole lot better and we showed that in the second half.
“We had a talk. We didn’t like the situation we were in and we didn’t like the scoreboard.
“It was either pull together and do something about it.
“A couple of opportunities we created could have given us an even closer game towards the end. We had too much to do in too little time.”