|Sport||Rugby league football|
|Number of teams||2|
|Trophy holders||New Zealand (2015)|
|Most titles||Australia (14 titles)|
|Broadcast partner||Nine Network (Australia)
Sky Sport (New Zealand)
The ANZAC Test is an annual rugby league football test match (known as the Bundaberg Rum Test from 2004–2008 and the VB Test in 2009 for sponsorship reasons). Inaugurated in 1997, the test is played annually between Australia and New Zealand on or around Anzac Day for the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy.
Australia and New Zealand had competed in Rugby League Tests since 1908. The ANZAC Test, played on or around ANZAC Day, was introduced by Super League (Australia) in 1997. When New Zealand was defeated 56–0 in 2000 the Australian Rugby League (ARL) was criticised for playing the match before the State of Origin series. The Test was then dropped from the annual schedule in favour of match in mid-July. In 2002 and 2003 Australia defeated Great Britain (64–10) and New Zealand (48–6) in July Test matches, so the Bundaberg Rum Test (as it became known for sponsorship reasons) was revived the following year.
The ANZAC Test was controversial for its use of the term ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and its perceived comparison of professional sportsmen with soldiers. However Super League donated a large sum of money to the RSL, and Bruce Ruxton featured in commercials for the inaugural ANZAC Test, proclaiming
- "Mark my words, Australia is still in grave danger from one of our so-called neighbours. The Kiwis were once our allies and now they’re on the other side – at least for 80 minutes".
The word ANZAC is protected in Australia by The Protection of Word "ANZAC" Regulations (under the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920) and requires permission of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs for use in commercial events. This permission was given for the event from 1997–1999.
From 2004 until 2008 the match was officially called the Bundaberg Rum League Test, after the principal sponsor, Bundaberg Rum. For the 2009 fixture, the principal sponsor was Victoria Bitter and, as such, the match was officially called the VB Test. Despite the official name change, it is still common for the match to be called the ANZAC Test.
Two different trophies have been awarded for the winner of this Test. For the 1997–1999 ANZAC Tests, the winner was awarded the ANZAC Trophy, which depicted an Australian slouch hat and New Zealand lemon squeezer hat.
Since 2004, the winner of the Bundaberg Rum League Test has been awarded the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy. This trophy was donated in 1996 by Gerald Ryan ONZM, a past president of the New Zealand Rugby League. It is named after Bill Kelly, a New Zealand rugby league player in the early 20th century.
The Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy was briefly stolen by three 25 year old New Zealand men after Australia's victory in the 2006 Test. It was found several hours later on the awning of a nearby building. The trophy currently resides at the Australian Rugby League headquarters in Sydney.
In 2011 the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy was not played for in the ANZAC Test, but instead in a one-off post-season test match.
Demise and Reconception
In 2007, the New Zealand Rugby League announced that the ANZAC Test would not be contested after 2008, citing difficulties with selecting their best possible team for a match held at that time of year. According to the NZRL Director of Football, Graham Lowe, "We have an obligation to play Australia in Sydney on 9 May next year, because it is their centenary test, and we will fulfil it, but that will be the last one." Although the NZRL did not think that the ANZAC Tests were still a viable option, they were "optimistic an international calendar will be adopted.".
After New Zealand's win in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, the release of new RLIF world rankings, and the introduction of a new international schedule, the annual mid-season test between Australia and New Zealand was revived. The 2009 fixture was played on 8 May at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
The 2011 ANZAC Test was scheduled to be held at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on 6 May. However, the match had to be rescheduled at Skilled Park on Australia's Gold Coast due to the February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake.
The 2013 Test was held at the Canberra Stadium on 19 April. This marked the first time that the Australian team had played a test in Australia's capital city. The game was played in Canberra to celebrate the centenary of that city.
The 2015 ANZAC Test, played at Suncorp Stadium, was originally scheduled to take place on 1 May but bad weather caused the game to be postponed to 3 May. This marked the first time a rugby league Test in Australia was ever done so.
Australia have won all but two ANZAC Tests.
|3 May 2015||New Zealand def. Australia 26-12||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||32,681|
|2 May 2014||Australia def. New Zealand 30-18||Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney||25,429|
|19 April 2013||Australia def. New Zealand 32–12||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||25,628|
|20 April 2012||Australia def. New Zealand 20–12||Eden Park, Auckland||35,329|
|6 May 2011||Australia def. New Zealand 20–10||Robina Stadium, Gold Coast||26,301|
|7 May 2010||Australia def. New Zealand 12–8||Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne||29,442|
|8 May 2009||Australia def. New Zealand 38–10||Lang Park, Brisbane||37,152|
|9 May 2008||Australia def. New Zealand 28–12||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||34,571|
|20 April 2007||Australia def. New Zealand 30–6||Lang Park, Brisbane||35,241|
|5 May 2006||Australia def. New Zealand 50–12||Lang Park, Brisbane||44,191|
|22 April 2005||Australia def. New Zealand 32–16||Lang Park, Brisbane||40,317|
|23 April 2004||Australia def. New Zealand 37–10||Newcastle International Sports Centre, Newcastle||21,537|
|21 April 2000||Australia def. New Zealand 52–0||Stadium Australia, Sydney||26,023|
|23 April 1999||Australia def. New Zealand 20–14||Stadium Australia, Sydney||30,245|
|24 April 1998||New Zealand def. Australia 22–16||North Harbour Stadium, Auckland||25,000|
|25 April 1997||Australia (SL) def. New Zealand 34–22||Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney||23,829|
2015 May Test
|Greg Inglis1||Fullback||Roger Tuivasa-Sheck|
|Josh Dugan||Wing||Jason Nightingale2|
|Will Chambers||Centre||Shaun Kenny-Dowall|
|Michael Jennings||Centre||Peta Hiku|
|Alex Johnston||Wing||Manu Vatuvei|
|Johnathan Thurston||Five-Eighth||Kieran Foran|
|Cooper Cronk||Halfback||Shaun Johnson|
|Matt Scott||Prop||Jesse Bromwich|
|Cameron Smith (c)||Hooker||Issac Luke|
|Aaron Woods||Prop||Ben Matulino|
|Greg Bird||2nd Row||Tohu Harris|
|Sam Thaiday||2nd Row||Kevin Proctor|
|Corey Parker||Lock||Simon Mannering (c)|
|Luke Lewis||Interchange||Thomas Leuluai|
|Trent Merrin||Interchange||Martin Taupau|
|Nate Myles||Interchange||Sam Moa|
|James Tamou||Interchange||Greg Eastwood|
|Tim Sheens||Coach||Stephen Kearney|
1 - Billy Slater was originally selected to play but withdrew due to injury. Greg Inglis was shifted to Fullback while Michael Jennings was promoted to the Centre after originally being named 19th Man.
2 - Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was originally selected to play but was withdrawn due to suspension. He was replaced by Jason Nightingale.
- Australia vs New Zealand in rugby league
- List of results of the Australian national rugby league team
- McCann, Liam (2006). Rugby: Facts, Figures and Fun. UK: AAPPL Artists' and Photographers' Press. p. 80.
- League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. 2008. pp. vii. ISBN 978-1-876944-64-3.
- ARL Media release. "VB Test Match tickets on sale today!". Australian Rugby League. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- NZRL Media release. "Marshall to Captain Pirtek Kiwis in Anzac Test". League Unlimited. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- pictured here
- "Fan steals Anzac Cup". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 May 2006.
- Michael Brown (10 June 2007). "League: NZRL move to red card Anzac tests". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- "League: League: Aussies grumpy over schedule release". New Zealand Herald. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- Annual Report 2005 – Australian Rugby League
- Jessup, Peter (1999-04-24). "Valiant Kiwis can hold heads high in defeat". The New Zealand Herald (APN Holdings NZ Limited). Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- "ANZAC Test 2014 Kiwis Media Guide" (PDF). nzrl.co.nz. New Zealand Rugby Leaguetitle=Queensland to host international blockbusters. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "W(h)ither ANZAC Day? – The Legal Protection of "ANZAC", Digger History website. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
- "Fan Steals ANZAC Cup", Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
- "The Protection of National Icons", Advisory Council on Intellectual Property. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
- "Killing ANZAC", Digger History website. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
- "Reveller Slammed as ANZAC Cup Goes Walkabout", New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
- "NZRL move to red card Anzac tests", New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2007.