1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia

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The 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand was a rugby league tour by the Great Britain team which took place from May to July 1992. It was the last tour of such length undertaken by Great Britain. The tour included games in Papua New Guinea, Australia - a three-test series for The Ashes and matches against club and representative teams - and New Zealand - a two-test series as well as matches against local sides. Taking place during Australia's 1992 Winfield Cup premiership season, the tour led to friction between the Great Britain team's management and the Australian Rugby League over match scheduling and promotion. The Lions finished the tour with thirteen wins and four losses and a profit of ₤244,645.[1]

This is the final Ashes series to date that has been played in Australia (as of 2015).

Touring squad[edit]

England's Bobbie Goulding and Wales' Jonathan Davies were originally selected but did not tour due to suspension and injury respectively. Aston, Hulme, Sampson, McNamara, Myers and Harrison were called up during the tour to replace injured players.[1]

Paul Eastwood was the leading point scorer on tour with 50 and was also the leading goal kicker with 17. Martin Offiah was the leading try scorer with 7.[1]

The coach was former Great Britain international Mal Reilly, marking his third Lions tour after appearing as a player on the successful 1970 tour and coaching the 1988 touring team. The assistant coach of the Great Britain squad was Widnes coach Phil Larder, while the team manager was Rugby Football League President Maurice Lindsay.[2] Ellery Hanley was the tour captain but only played in one game. Garry Schofield was the Test captain while Deryck Fox was the team captain when either Hanley or Schofield weren't playing.[1]

England

Wales

Scotland

Papua New Guinea leg[edit]

The Lions first traveled to Papua New Guinea.

This match was the most points scored on tour.[1]

31 May 1992
Papua New Guinea  14 - 20  Great Britain
Tries:
Matthew Elara
K. Tani, Richard Wagambi
Goals:
Aquila Emil
[1] Tries:
Martin Offiah (2)
Paul Eastwood, Phil Clarke
Goals:
Paul Loughlin (2)
Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
Attendance: 7,294
Referee/s: Eddie Ward (AUS)
Papua New Guinea Position Great Britain
Phillip Boge FB Steve Hampson
Joshua Kouoru WG Paul Eastwood
Richard Wagambi CE Garry Schofield (c)
August Joseph CE Paul Loughlin
K Tani WG Martin Offiah
Aquila Emil SO Daryl Powell
Ngala Lapan (c) SH Shaun Edwards
Ben Biri PR Lee Crooks
Michael Matmillo HK Martin Dermott
Kera Ngaffin PR Andy Platt
Bobby Ako SR Denis Betts
Joe Gispe SR Karl Fairbank
Matthew Elara LF Phil Clarke
Korul Sinemau Int. Joe Lydon
Michael Angara Int. Kelvin Skerrett
S Kapan Int. Paul Newlove
Nande Yer Int. Sonny Nickle
Coach Mal Reilly


Australia leg[edit]

The Lions then traveled to Australia to contest The Ashes series. The Ashes series attracted 103,419 fans across the three tests, including the first ever Ashes test played in Melbourne. This was the largest Ashes attendance in Australia since 133,791 had attended the 1974 Ashes series.

With Ellery Hanley out injured, Mal Reilly appointed five-eighth Garry Schofield as British captain for the first test. The Australian's stuck with most of those who had won the 1991 Trans-Tasman Test series against New Zealand, with only winger Michael Hancock, prop Glenn Lazarus and second rowers Paul Sironen and Bob Lindner returning to the side and Newcastle Knights prop forward Paul Harragon making his test debut.

Flying Lions winger Martin Offiah made two clean breaks down his left wing in the first half after poor Australian kicks and defence had given him two opportunities to showcase his speed, but he was put into touch by Australian fullback Andrew Ettingshausen on both occasions when only about 15 metres from scoring (despite being probably the quickest player in the Australian team, ET later admitted that had he needed to chase him, Offiah would have had too much pace). Man of the match Bradley Clyde and Kangaroos captain Mal Meninga with two tries had a night to remember, leading the home side to a 22-6 win. The Lions only try came midway through the second half to replacement back Joe Lydon.

The attendance of 40,141 at the Football Stadium was the largest crowd for an Australia vs Great Britain test in Sydney since 55,505 saw the final test of the 1974 Ashes series at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Friday, 12 June
Australia  22 - 6  Great Britain
Tries:
Mal Meninga (2)
Michael Hancock, Paul Sironen
Goals:
Rod Wishart (3/6)
Tries:
Joe Lydon
Goals:
Lee Crooks (1/2)
Sydney Football Stadium
Attendance: 40,141
Referee/s: Dennis Hale (NZ)
Man of the Match: Bradley Clyde (AUS)
Australia Position Great Britain
Andrew Ettingshausen FB Graham Steadman
Rod Wishart WG Paul Newlove
Mal Meninga (c) CE Daryl Powell
Laurie Daley CE Paul Loughlin
Michael Hancock WG Martin Offiah
Peter Jackson FE/SO Garry Schofield (c)
Allan Langer HB/SH Andy Gregory
Paul Harragon PR Kelvin Skerrett
Steve Walters HK Martin Dermott
Glenn Lazarus PR Lee Crooks
Paul Sironen SR Dennis Betts
Bob Lindner SR Andy Platt
Bradley Clyde LF Phil Clarke
David Gillespie Res. Joe Lydon
Brad Mackay Res. Shaun Edwards
Brad Fittler Res. Ian Lucas
Kevin Walters Res. Michael Jackson
Bob Fulton Coach Mal Reilly

English winger Martin Offiah, generally regarded at the time as the fastest player in rugby league, participated in a highly publicised 100 metre foot race with Parramatta Eels speedster Lee Oudenryn before the tour match against the Eels. With both players decked out in their full football gear, including boots, Offiah's fastest player standing took a beating when Oudenryn won by a yard. Rumours soon surfaced that with Offiah the odds-on favourite, a few of his Lions team mates had heavily backed the Eels flyer to win and that Offiah had tanked so they could collect. Offiah would get his revenge later in the night with 2 tries, one a long range try where Oudenryn failed to make ground on him in a 50-metre chase.[6] The match against Parramatta also saw the largest non-test crowd of the Lions tour with 18,220 in attendance.

For the second test Britain fielded an all-Wigan forward pack,[7] and with Andy Gregory injured, Shaun Edwards came in at scrum half-back for his first start against the Australians in test football. The Australians went in with an almost unchanged side, though David Gillespie came into the front row with Glenn Lazarus moving to the bench and Chris Johns coming into the side for Brad Fittler who was unavailable for personal reasons.

The match, played at the Princes Park Australian rules football ground under temporary lighting, was the first ever Ashes test in Australia played in Melbourne. The cold, wet conditions suited the Lions who levelled the series with a resounding 33-10 win after going into half-time with a 22-0 lead in front of 31,005 fans.

Friday, 26 June
Australia  10 - 33  Great Britain
2 Tries:
Bob Lindner
Chris Johns



Goal:
Mal Meninga
5 Tries:
Phil Clarke
Paul Newlove
Garry Schofield
Graham Steadman
Martin Offiah
Goals:
Paul Eastwood (6/7)
Field goal:
Garry Schofield
Princes Park, Melbourne
Attendance: 31,005
Referee/s: Dennis Hale (NZ)
Man of the Match: Garry Schofield (GB)
Australia Position Great Britain
Andrew Ettingshausen FB Graham Steadman
Rod Wishart WG Paul Eastwood
Laurie Daley CE Daryl Powell
Mal Meninga (c) CE Paul Newlove
Michael Hancock WG Martin Offiah
Peter Jackson FE/SO Garry Schofield (c)
Allan Langer HB/SH Shaun Edwards
David Gillespie PR Kelvin Skerrett
Steve Walters HK Martin Dermott
Paul Harragon PR Andy Platt
Paul Sironen SR Dennis Betts
Bob Lindner SR Billy McGinty
Bradley Clyde LF Phil Clarke
Brad Mackay Res. Joe Lydon
Glenn Lazarus Res. Paul Hulme
Kevin Walters Res. Gary Connolly
Chris Johns Res. Karl Harrison
Bob Fulton Coach Mal Reilly

The second test, played on a cold and wet night at Melbourne's Princes Park, saw Australian captain Mal Meninga equal Reg Gasnier's record of 36 tests for Australia.[8] It turned out that the conditions (as well as the slippery surface), suited the Lions with many claiming it was more like English weather than Australian.

The British got off to a 4 - 0 lead after some penalties kicked by Paul Eastwood early in the first half. A brawl started by Australian forward Paul Harrogan got the Lions another penalty and they decided to attack the Kangaroos' line. From the resulting good field position, first receiver Philip Clarke was able to throw a dummy and make a break through the defensive line to dive over for the first try of the match. It was then converted by Eastwood, so the visitors led 10 - 0. The next try for Great Britain came when replacement half Shaun Edwards got the ball mid-field and made a break before kicking it ahead into Australia's in-goal area. Several players from both sides came racing through to dive on the ball but the Lions' Paul Newlove was the only one who got his hand on it.[9] Next, Garry Schofield scored a brilliant individual try when he chipped ahead from about fifteen metres out and then beat the Australian defence to dive on it. Great Britain thus went into the break leading 22 - 0.[10]

Schofield kicked a drop goal to open the scoring in the second half, making it 23 nil. Australia then got their first try fifteen minutes into the second half when Bob Lindner got the ball at first receiver close to the line and reached out from the tackle to touch the ball down. The next try came from Australian centre Chris Johns who ran onto replacement half Kevin Walters' pass from about fifteen metres out through a gap in the defence to score. Back in Australia's half, British fullback Graham Steadman got the ball at first receiver about twenty metres out and outpaced Andrew Ettingshausen down the right sideline to score in the corner, sealing the match for the tourists.[11] The British then added to their score when Schofield got the ball around mid-field, chipped it over the defence and regarthered it. He found Martin Offiah in support, the speedy winger beating Australian fullback Ettingshausen in a race for the left corner. This left the final score at 33 - 10, equalling Great Britain's largest ever winning margin[12] and Australia's second-largest ever losing margin[13]

Former Australian test skipper Wally Lewis was a late withdrawal for the Seagulls with a hamstring injury.[14]

Friday, 3 July
Australia  16 - 10  Great Britain
Tries:
Laurie Daley
Mal Meninga
Goals:
Mal Meninga (4)
Tries:
Martin Offiah

Goals:
Paul Eastwood (3)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 32,313
Referee/s: Dennis Hale (NZ)
Man of the Match: Paul Sironen (AUS)
Australia Position Great Britain
Andrew Ettingshausen FB Graham Steadman
Willie Carne WG Paul Eastwood
Mal Meninga (c) CE Daryl Powell
Brad Fittler CE Paul Newlove
Michael Hancock WG Martin Offiah
Laurie Daley FE/SO Garry Schofield (c)
Allan Langer HB/SH Shaun Edwards
Paul Harragon PR Kelvin Skerrett
Steve Walters HK Martin Dermott
Glenn Lazarus PR Andy Platt
Paul Sironen SR Dennis Betts
Bob Lindner SR Billy McGinty
Bradley Clyde LF Phil Clarke
David Gillespie Res. Paul Hulme
Kevin Walters Res. Karl Harrison
Chris Johns Res. Gary Connolly
John Cartwright Res. Joe Lydon
Bob Fulton Coach Mal Reilly

The third and final test was allocated points for the 1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup.

By playing in this, his 37th test match, Australian captain Mal Meninga became his countries most-capped test player, breaking the record of former Australian captain Reg Gasnier. Meninga also equalled Keith Holman's record for most tests against Great Britain.[15] His try and four goals also brought his total of points scored in Anglo-Australian test matches to 108, overtaking Neil Fox's record.

The test at Lang Park in Brisbane was played in warm, dry conditions in total contrast to the second test. Mal Meninga (4) and Paul Eastwood (2) traded goals for the only scores in the first half. Lions captain Garry Schofield had the best scoring opportunity of the first half when put into a gap only 10 metres out from the Australian line, but the pass from Paul Newlove was called forward by referee Dennis Hale. Late in the half a fight erupted with rival hookers Steve Walters (Aust) and Martin Dermott (GB) trading blows. Meninga then kicked a penalty goal to give the home side an 8-4 lead at half time.

Laurie Daley scored the first try of the game midway through the second half. Andrew Ettingshausen played the ball only metres out from the Lions line and Brad Fittler ran infield from dummy half. He stepped back inside and popped a pass to Daley who juggled the ball, but managed to get through the tackle of Schofield and Shaun Edwards to get it down for a try amidst howls of protests from Phil Clarke who was claiming a knock on. Meninga missed the difficult conversion but the Aussies led 12-4. Then with 15 minutes remaining, Meninga put the Aussies further ahead with a try from a Laurie Daley kick. Meninga won the race to the ball despite a number of Lions converging before powering through the tackle of Edwards and Dennis Betts to plant the ball down and give the Aussies a match winning 16-4 lead. Martin Offiah finally showed his speed to give the Lions some hope in the last 5 minutes, toeing ahead a loose ball 30 metres out from his line before regathering and racing 50 metres to score under the posts. Eastwood converted to see the Lions trim the lead to 16-10, but that was as close as they got as the Australian's held out Great Britain to retain The Ashes that they had held since 1974.

Australian forward Brad Clyde was awarded with the Harry Sunderland Medal for the Player of the Series.[16]


New Zealand leg[edit]

This was Great Britain's first defeat of Auckland since 1979, Auckland had won five with one draw since then.[1] The Auckland side actually had an impressive record against touring international teams during this period, also recording a shock win over Australia in 1989.

Sunday, 12 July
New Zealand  15 - 14  Great Britain
Tries:
Richie Blackmore
Tony Kemp
Goals:
Matthew Ridge (2)
Gavin Hill
Field goal:
Daryl Halligan
[2] Tries:
Phil Clarke
Shaun Edwards
Goals:
Graham Steadman (3)
Showgrounds, Palmerston North
Attendance: 11,548
Referee/s: Bill Harrigan (AUS)
New Zealand Position Great Britain
Matthew Ridge FB Graham Steadman
Sean Hoppe WG Paul Eastwood
Kevin Iro CE Daryl Powell
Tony Kemp CE Gary Connolly
Ritchie Blackmore WG Martin Offiah
Dean Clark FE/SO Garry Schofield (c)
Gary Freeman (c) HB/SH Shaun Edwards
Brent Stuart PR Kelvin Skerrett
Duane Mann HK Lee Jackson
Brent Todd PR Andy Platt
Gavin Hill SR Dennis Betts
Quentin Pongia SR Billy McGinty
Brendon Tuuta LF Phil Clarke
Daryl Halligan Res. Joe Lydon
Mike Kuiti Res. Paul Hulme
Tea Ropati Res. Karl Harrison
Mark Woods Res.
Howie Tamati Coach Mal Reilly
Sunday, 19 July
New Zealand  16 - 19  Great Britain
Tries:
Gary Freeman
Sean Hoppe, Brent Todd
Goals:
Matthew Ridge (2)
[3] Tries:
Denis Betts
Lee Jackson, Martin Offiah
Goals:
Paul Eastwood (3)
Field Goal
Garry Schofield
Carlaw Park, Auckland
Attendance: 10,233
Referee/s: Bill Harrigan
New Zealand Position Great Britain
Matthew Ridge FB Graham Steadman
Sean Hoppe WG Paul Eastwood
Kevin Iro CE Daryl Powell
Tony Kemp CE Gary Connolly
Ritchie Blackmore WG Martin Offiah
Dean Clark FE/SO Garry Schofield (c)
Gary Freeman (c) HB/SH Shaun Edwards
Brent Stuart PR Karl Harrison
Duane Mann HK Lee Jackson
Brent Todd PR Andy Platt
Gavin Hill SR Dennis Betts
Quentin Pongia SR Billy McGinty
Brendon Tuuta LF Phil Clarke
Daryl Halligan Res. Paul Newlove
Mike Kuiti Res. Michael Jackson
Tea Ropati Res. John Devereux
Mark Woods Res. Karl Fairbank
Howie Tamati Coach Mal Reilly


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1992 New Zealand Rugby League, 1992. p.p.52-73
  2. ^ Pramberg, Bernie (27 June 1992). "Roos 'relented'". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Magnay, Jacquelin (2 June 1992). "Lions unimpressive in QLD win". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Sarno, Tony (7 June 1992). "Copycat Lions shot Mettle in Canberra". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  5. ^ MacDonald, John (8 June 1992). "Defence brings new Life to Lions". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (16 May 2010). "Race lines up NRL's quick men". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax). Archived from the original on 18 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  7. ^ French, Ray (24 April 2003). "Greatest upsets". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Clarkson, Alan (27 June 1992). "2 Test Changes likely". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  9. ^ John, MacDonald (26 June 1992). "Lions shock Australia to level series". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Lions even the score". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 June 1992. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  11. ^ de la Rivière, Richard. "1992 Australia v Great Britain, 2nd Test". Thirteen. richarddelariviere.co.uk. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Ashes battles of the past". BBC Sport. 16 October 2001. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "Australian Rugby League ("Kangaroos") Records". RL1908.com. Sean Fagan. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  14. ^ AFP (1 July 1992). "British Lions clinch tenth Victory". New Strait Times. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  15. ^ Gallaway, Jack (2003). Origin: Rugby League's Greatest Contest 1980 - 2002. Australia: University of Queensland Press. pp. 177–78. ISBN 0-7022-3383-8. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "ACT Sport Hall of Fame Inductees". actsport.com.au. ACT Sport. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 

External links[edit]