Jermaine McGillvary: England & Huddersfield winger yet to revisit World Cup loss
|Super League 2018|
|Starts: Thursday, 1 February|
|Coverage: Commentary of matches on BBC Radio 5 live, sports extra and local radio; highlights every week on the Super League Show; live text commentary on selected games|
England winger Jermaine McGillvary had a World Cup to remember in 2017, but there is one 80-minute chunk of the experience he will choose to forget.
McGillvary, 29, was one of the stars of England’s run to the final, scoring seven tries before winners Australia proved just too strong in the decider.
It was England’s first World Cup final appearance since 1995, but the Kangaroos won 6-0 in Brisbane.
“I haven’t even watched it back,” McGillvary told BBC Sport.
“I’ve seen tiny bits of it when I’ve been flicking through the channels and the highlights have been on but I’ve flicked it straight off.
“I don’t know when I will go back to it, I don’t want to look at it too soon, I was really gutted.”
England’s performance in the final might not have brought home the Paul Barriere Trophy, but it did earn the players plaudits for their performances.
Australia had scored 204 points in their five previous games, including a total of 100 in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but were restricted to just six by a hugely spirited England display.
Few gave McGillvary and his team-mates a chance, including people close to the Huddersfield Giants winger.
“I had friends messaging me saying we were going to get pumped by big scores,” McGillvary added.
“I actually deleted a friend off Facebook because he inboxed me to say ‘what score you going to be beaten by today?’
“I removed them straight away, it doesn’t help before a World Cup final.
“We were committed, a close-knit team and we pushed a superstar team close. We lost in the end but I hope people will recognise the commitment we put in out there.”
Role models inspiring Giants steps
McGillvary’s rise to international stardom has been hard-earned, having worked in a home improvements store before getting to train with Huddersfield as an 18-year-old.
He has been a consistent, loyal performer since who averages 17.5 tries per season, and taken that form into the international arena with 10 tries in 12 appearances.
He returns to Super League for 2018 hoping to help Giants seal a top-four spot after two years without play-off football.
“I know a lot of young lads look up to me,” McGillvary continued. “From what I’ve done at the Giants and England, I’ve got respect among the boys.
“It’s up to the senior players like me, Michael Lawrence, Danny Brough, Leroy Cudjoe and Ryan Hinchcliffe to show that fight and mentality.
“We’ve been around the game, training with and playing against the best and we’ve got to take that experience and hope it rubs off around the club, lifts standards and drives it.
“People have to take ownership and hopefully we’re doing good enough in pre-season to jump in there and compete.”
After a nightmare 2016 in which the Giants finished in the bottom four and were forced to retain their Super League status in the Qualifiers, 2017 was a more comfortable campaign in terms of making the top eight.
However, the ambitious McGillvary has eyes on the autumn Test series for England against New Zealand and ensuring he gives himself the best hope of featuring with a good season in Huddersfield colours.
“Making the eights isn’t good enough,” he added. “We’ve been in semi-finals and been in touching distance of the Grand Final.
“As a professional it’s not good enough just to make the eights, we had nothing to play for. I want to be in a position where we have a chance to compete for something, to be a top player and a top club we need to be winning things.
“I’m training hard to get ready for the season. I need to make the England squad, and I can’t make it by playing poorly.”