GREAT Britain’s defeat to New Zealand was a bittersweet experience for Joe Philbin.

The Warrington Wolves prop made his Lions debut – something he calls “the proudest moment of his rugby league life – but it was in a losing effort as the Kiwis held on for a 12-8 victory.

Warrington-born-and-bred Philbin hopes he did enough to keep his place in the side for the second Test in Christchurch next week.

“It is the proudest moment of my rugby league life to date,” he said.

“I felt a bit emotional singing the national anthem, but it’s a results business.

“We’re here to win and we didn’t quite get the result, so it puts a bitter spin on it.

“I needed to get myself used to the pace in the first 10 minutes.

“I haven’t been used to that pace especially after not playing for a few weeks, but I got my second wind after that and I felt alright.

“I’ll be a lot better for the run if I get another chance next week.”

Quick tries from Jamayne Issako and Corey Harawira-Naera looked like taking the game beyond Great Britain’s reach until Philbin’s Wire teammate Daryl Clark crossed to put the Lions back in the fight.

It looked as if they would at least snatch a draw – perhaps even a win – when Jermaine McGillvary dived over late on, but the video referee spotted the Huddersfield winger losing control of the ball and the try was chalked off.

“We were wearing them down well in that second half,” Philbin said.

“New Zealand profited from our errors in the first half but after that, we played a good brand of rugby league.

“That’s what we want to look towards playing next week.”