THE reaction from outsiders, the response from national TV and radio news bulletins and the general feelgood afterglow from the sport’s aficionados just goes to show that international rugby league can get to the parts that the domestic game simply cannot reach.

It helped massively that the match had a real superstar in St Helens wing Tommy Makinson to hang it on, with a well-taken hat-trick and a similar number of try savers at the other end.

Viewers the length and breadth of the nation, transfixed by the bruising spectacle before them ­— the Haka, the hits and the dives to the corner ­— will have associated with success.

For 80 minutes those players were not just the property of us die-hards, who watch and support teams every week, they belonged to the nation.

If we focus on the 26,000 full seats rather than the similar number of empty ones, we can start a positive conversation and debate about how we can build test matches in future.

After a disappointing crowd at Hull, the performance on Sunday has already had a positive spin-off on sales for what is effectively a dead rubber game at Elland Road, Leeds this weekend.

The lessons we have to learn from this is not to retreat into our shells and go back to small venues. After all the midweek French test was at Leigh Sports Village and that was hardly packed to the rafters.

The choice of venues - including Anfield - was a bold move, but in future that has to be backed with a different marketing strategy.

That should not mean lashing out thousands in advertising, or slashing ticket prices for what is the elite level of the sport.

The week building up to Anfield saw some fantastic profile - whether it was James Graham on Chris Evans or the Kiwis doing the Haka at Melwood before Jurgen Klopp’s men - but it was too late in the day to fill the top tiers.

We need to build these events like rugby union do, involving junior clubs in the sale of tickets.

And when we are away from the beaten track, that should maybe mean involving clubs from other sporting codes.