Giving Ben Barba back to the NRL, the North Queensland Cowboys, specifically, was apparently all England UK Super League side St. Helens was willing to let escape.

The Pom club has told Golden Boot winner Tommy Makinson that he will not be moving to the NRL anytime soon, even if such a move would be preferable to the winger.

Born in Greater Manchester, UK, Makinson has never known any other professional team. Why he would want out of England is anyone’s guess, other than the obvious one of living in working in a climate where it is generally possible to see one’s foot in front of one’s face the majority of the time.

It may have been a case of the horse at the rear of the cart, however, as the only thing linking Makinson to the NRL was that he was spotted in Newcastle, proper Aussie Newcastle, having a talk with Newcastle Knight coach Nathan Brown.

Saints coach Justin Holbrook was quick to place a lid on any suggestions that Makinson is in Oz for anything other than a walkabout.

“I haven’t seen the stories but no one has come knocking on my door from the NRL concerning Tommy,” Holbrook told The St Helens Reporter.

Everyone knows that door knocking is the correct protocol to follow in St. Helens and NRL clubs are nothing if not deferential to the Motherland.

“I know he has been on holiday Down Under but I am expecting him to return to training next week like the rest of our England players,” Holbrook continued.

Brown backed Holbrook on the Knights’ website, saying, “My family and Tommy’s family have a good relationship from my time back in England. “We caught up for a catch-up and Tommy has expressed an interest in coming to the NRL and living in Australia.”

Makinson is committed contractually to St. Helens until 2021.

Maybe the NRL would consider a swap for the Eels.

There was some grumbling by the disgruntled who felt Makinson was not deserving of the Golden Boot.

Past great Brad Fittler was one. He claimed it was “totally ridiculous” to give the award to Makinson, because Fittler had never seen him play.

Maybe there is a video somewhere, YouTube, perhaps.

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