LAST Saturday’s World Cup semi-final was tremendous for rugby league.

It was not simply the breathtaking finale, with Tonga grabbing three tries in the last seven minutes to throw it back into the boiling pot, it was the whole package; the flags, hymns and emotion.

Tonga — and for that matter Papua New Guinea and Fiji — have certainly brought plenty to this year’s tournament.

Thrilling as the finale was, after England had seemed home and hosed at 20-0, it would have been a disaster for the game over here had they lost it at the end.

Saturday gives the game here a massive chance to put itself in the shop window.

Sure, some of the national media — both in print and television — have been slow to give it what it really deserves.

It has made breakthroughs on national radio - but they are small crumbs from the master’s plate really.

Once again it appears that rugby league is suffering due to its narrow geographical spread.

All we can do is to continue to be evangelists for our sport and keep on pushing for better coverage.

One major thing the World Cup has shown is that international sport opens doors way beyond the appeal of the domestic game.

We can focus plenty on the negatives of lack of coverage - but this Saturday will see a bigger than normal viewing figures.

That is the only thing that the powers running the media will listen to. If millions tune in, then that strengthens rugby league’s hand in terms pushing for greater coverage and sponsors.

It will also feed back into our own clubs.

Up and down the country, plenty of club rugby union fans first took an interest in the XV man code through the Six Nations and the Lions tours.

This is one thing that rugby league does not to press home, despite the unhelpful attitude of the Australians.

That is why for once, unlike in 2013, it is pleasing to see the organisers strike while the iron is hot by setting up the three test series against New Zealand.

Even more encouraging is that they have set their stall out with a really ambitious selection of venues.

Picking three large grounds — Hull, Elland Road and Liverpool’s Anfield — gives the game over here something to attack marketing wise.

It is a throwback to the 80s when the game thought nothing of playing at Old Trafford — and 50,000 punters poured in.

We need to be bold with our planning, build these events and the spin-offs will come back to the club game.