1986 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France
The 1986 Kangaroo tour was the sixteenth Kangaroo tour where the Australian side plays a number of tour matches against British and French rugby league teams, in addition to the Test matches. The next Kangaroo tour was staged in 1990.
Australia continued its dominance, winning both Test series against Great Britain and France, going through the entire tour undefeated in a repeat of the 1982 Invincibles' tour. The 1986 team became known as "The Unbeatables". In twenty matches they scored 136 tries and conceded only 16, posting 738 points for and 126 against. Terry Lamb became the first player to appear in every match on a Kangaroo Tour.
The team was coached by 1956/57 Kangaroo tourist Don Furner, who also coached the Canberra Raiders in the NSWRL that year. The squad was captained by Queensland captain Wally Lewis, the first time a Queensland based player had captained a Kangaroo tour since Tom Gorman led the 1929/30 tour. Tour managers were Gordon Treichel and J. Fleming.
Of the 28 players selected to go on the tour 23 were from clubs of the New South Wales Rugby League and 5 were from clubs of the Brisbane Rugby League. This was the last time players from the Queensland based competition were selected for a Kangaroo tour.
- Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (5): Paul Dunn (N), Steve Folkes (N), Terry Lamb (N), Paul Langmack (N), Chris Mortimer (N)
- Balmain Tigers (4): Ben Elias (N), Garry Jack (N), Steve Roach (N), Paul Sironen (N)
- Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (4): Noel Cleal (N), Phil Daley (N), Des Halser (N), Dale Shearer (Q)
- Wynnum-Manly Seagulls (4): Wally Lewis (captain) (Q), Greg Dowling (Q), Bob Lindner (Q), Gene Miles (Q)
- Canberra Raiders (2): Gary Belcher (Q), Mal Meninga (Q)
- North Sydney Bears (2): Martin Bella (Q), Les Kiss (Q)
- Parramatta Eels (2): Brett Kenny (N), Peter Sterling (N)
- Penrith Panthers (2): Greg Alexander (N), Royce Simmons (N)
- Redcliffe Dolphins (1): Bryan Niebling (Q)
- South Sydney Rabbitohs (1): Les Davidson (N)
- St George Dragons (1): Michael O'Connor (N)
Before flying to England, the Kangaroos played their second ever Test against Papua New Guinea at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby on 4 October. In front of 17,000 fans (a record attendance for the venue), the Kangaroos led by Wally Lewis defeated the Kumuls 62-12. Australia scored 12 tries to 1 with Noel Cleal, Les Kiss and Michael O'Connor each scoring a double. O'Connor also kicked 7 goals from 12 attempts for a personal haul of 22 points. Chris Mortimer, Paul Dunn and Bob Lindner made their Test debuts, with Lindner named Man of the Match.
The Australian team for the Test against Papua New Guinea was:
Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Gene Miles, Chris Mortimer, Les Kiss, Wally Lewis (c), Des Hasler, Steve Roach, Royce Simmons, Bryan Niebling, Paul Dunn, Noel Cleal, Bob Lindner. Res: Mal Meninga, Paul Sironen
The crowd of 50,583 for the first Test at the Old Trafford ground in Manchester, set a record for an international match on British soil. The Ashes series against Great Britain saw an record aggregate Ashes series crowd in England with 101,560 attending the three Tests.
|Oct 12||Wigan||18-26||Central Park, Wigan||J. Holdsworth||30,662|
|Oct 15||Hull KR||10-46||Craven Park, Hull||G. Kershaw||6,868|
|Oct 19||Leeds||0-40||Headingley Stadium, Leeds||R. Whitfield||10,974|
|Oct 21||Cumbria||12-48||Craven Park, Barrow-in-Furness||J. McDonald||4,233|
|Oct 25||Great Britain||16-38||Old Trafford, Manchester||J. Rascagneres (FRA)||50,583|
|Oct 29||Halifax||2-36||Thrum Hall, Halifax||M. Beaumont||7,193|
|Nov 2||St Helens||8-32||Knowsley Road, St. Helens||F. Lindop||15,370|
|Nov 4||Oldham||16-22||The Watersheddings, Oldham||K. Allatt||5,678|
|Nov 8||Great Britain||4-34||Elland Road, Leeds||J. Rascagneres (FRA)||30,808|
|Nov 12||Widnes||4-20||Naughton Park, Widnes||G. Berry||10,268|
|Nov 16||Hull||0-48||The Boulevard, Hull||J. McDonald||8,216|
|Nov 18||Bradford Northern||0-38||Odsal Stadium, Bradford||D. Fox||10,663|
|Nov 22||Great Britain||15-24||Central Park, Wigan||J. Rascagneres (FRA)||20,169|
The Ashes series
25 Oct 1986
|Australia||38 - 16||Great Britain|
Gene Miles (3), Michael O'Connor (3)
Michael O'Connor (5/9)
Joe Lydon, Tony Marchant
Lee Crooks (1/3)
Henderson Gill (1/1)
AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Les Kiss, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Steve Roach, Noel Cleal, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Mal Meninga, Terry Lamb
GREAT BRITAIN: Joe Lydon, Tony Marchant, Garry Schofield, Ellery Hanley, Henderson Gill, Tony Myler, Deryck Fox, Kevin Ward, David Watkinson (c), John Fieldhouse, Lee Crooks, Ian Potter, Andy Goodway.
8 November 1986
|Australia||34 - 4||Great Britain|
Garry Jack (2), Brett Kenny, Wally Lewis
Bob Lindner, Michael O'Connor
Michael O'Connor (5/8)
Lee Crooks (0/1)
Great Britain coach Maurice Bamford surprisingly made only one change to the team that had lost heavily in Manchester. Centre Ellery Hanley was ruled out through injury and replaced by St Helens winger Barry Ledger, with Tony Marchant moving from the wing to partner Garry Schofield in the centres. Bamford came in for heavy criticism from former Great Britain and England internationals for his selections. For the Kangaroos, Dale Shearer made his return to the Test team replacing the injured Les Kiss on the wing, while Canterbury-Bankstown forward Paul Dunn returned to the team in the front row replacing the injured Steve Roach.
The Kangaroos ran riot in the second Test, wrapping up The Ashes with a six tries to one, 34-4 win in front of 30,808 at Elland Road. The Lions only try came late in the game when Kangaroos fullback Garry Jack, who had scored two tries, pushed a pass 10 metres from his line to Michael O'Connor. The Aussie winger dropped the ball (which was at his knees) and it was pounced upon by Schofield.
In his television commentary of the game, former dual-rugby international and 1959-60 Kangaroo tour vice-captain Rex Mossop summed up the game when calling one of Australia's tries, stating that "Australia has decimated, dissected and diabolically destroyed this Great Britain side today"'.
AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Dale Shearer, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Noel Cleal, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Mal Meninga
GREAT BRITAIN: Joe Lydon, Barry Ledger, Garry Schofield, Tony Marchant, Henderson Gill, Tony Myler, Deryck Fox, Kevin Ward, David Watkinson (c), John Fieldhouse, Lee Crooks, Ian Potter, Andy Goodway. Rep: Shaun Edwards, Andy Platt
This match also counted as part of the 1985–88 Rugby League World Cup. It was the only match of the series played at a regular rugby league ground, the first two Tests having been played in soccer stadiums to take advantage of the greater spectator capacity. It was also the last Ashes Test in England played at a club home ground until 2001.
22 November 1986
|Australia||24 - 15||Great Britain|
Wally Lewis, Bob Lindner
Gene Miles, Dale Shearer
Michael O'Connor (4/5)
Garry Schofield (2)
Joe Lydon (2/3)
Henderson Gill (1/1)
The only Australian team change from the second Test win was Mal Meninga coming off the bench into the second row to replace the injured Noel Cleal (broken arm) with South Sydney's Les Davidson named on the bench in his Test debut. Australian coach Don Furner explained that moving Meninga to the back row meant there was little disruption to the team as both Mal and Crusher Cleal were big, fast, skillful and played a similar style of game. Maurice Bamford made five changes to the Lions, including the recall of halfback Andy Gregory.
As for the 1982 Ashes series, the third Test was the most genuinely contested of the Tests played, with the Lions putting in a much improved performance and the game held in the balance until French referee Julien Rascagneres allowed a contentious try to Australian captain Wally Lewis midway through the second half. Lewis' try in Wigan saw him become just the second Australian after legendary winger Ken Irvine (1963-64 Kangaroo tour) to score a try in each Test of an Ashes series.
AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Michael O'Connor, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Dale Shearer, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Mal Meninga, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Les Davidson
GREAT BRITAIN: Joe Lydon, Henderson Gill, Garry Schofield, David Stephenson, John Basnett, Tony Myler, Andy Gregory, Kevin Ward, David Watkinson (c), Lee Crooks, Chris Burton, Andy Goodway, Harry Pinner. Rep: Ian Potter
|Nov 26||Qres XIII||4-36||800|
|Nov 30||France||2-44||Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan||F. Lindrop (ENG)||5,000|
|Dec 7||France B||0-50||2,000|
|Dec 13||France||0-52||Stade d'Albert Domec, Carcassonne||F. Lindrop (ENG)||5,000|
30 November 1986
|Australia||44 - 2||France|
Michael O'Connor (3), Bob Lindner (2)
Gene Miles (2), Garry Jack
Michael O'Connor (4/9)
Gilles Dumas (1/2)
AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Dale Shearer, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Michael O'Connor, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Les Davidson, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Paul Sironen
FRANCE: Gilles Dumas, Didier Couston, Roger Palisses, Alain Maury, Hugues Ratier, Dominique Espugna, Patrick Entat, Max Chantal, Thierry Bernabe, Jean-Luc Rabot, Guy Laforgue (c), Serge Titeux, Daniel Verdes. Rep: Serge Bret, Francis Laforgue
13 December 1986
|Australia||52 - 0||France|
Dale Shearer (4), Garry Jack (3), Steve Folkes
Bryan Niebling, Michael O'Connor
Michael O'Connor (6/12)
AUSTRALIA: Garry Jack, Dale Shearer, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles, Michael O'Connor, Wally Lewis (c), Peter Sterling, Greg Dowling, Royce Simmons, Paul Dunn, Steve Folkes, Bryan Niebling, Bob Lindner. Rep: Terry Lamb, Les Davidson
FRANCE: Patrick Wosniak, Sebastian Rodriguez, Philippe Fourquet, Francis Laforgue, Hugues Ratier, Roger Palisses, Christian Scicchitano, Max Chantal, Thierry Bernabe, Serge Titeux, Guy Laforgue (c), Daniel Verdes, Philippe Gestas. Rep: Gilles Dumas, Yves Storer
Leading Try Scorer
- 19 by Terry Lamb
Leading Point Scorer
- 170 by Michael O'Connor (13 tries, 59 goals)
Largest Club Game Attendance
- Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby league's greatest contest 1980 - 2002. University of Queensland Press. pp. 93–94. ISBN 9780702233838.
- Australia vs Papua New Guinea 1986
- Rugby league
- "Unbeaten Kangaroos the 'Best Ever'". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Digital). 1986-12-15. p. 39. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- 1986 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain and France at rl1908.com
- 1986 Kangaroo Tour of Great Britain and France at rlhalloffame.org.uk
- Ashes Series 1986 at rugbyleagueproject.com
- 1986 Kangaroos at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame