Super League Test series

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The Super League Test series was a three-test match series between the Great Britain Lions and Super League's Australian national team held during November 1997 in England. Named the British Gas Test series due to sponsorship from Centrica's British Gas brand,[1] it went to a decider in the third test which was won by Australia.

Background[edit]

The Australian side consisted only of players from the 1997 Telstra Cup season (which was run by the Super League (SL)), with none from the 1997 Optus Cup season (which was run by the Australian Rugby League (ARL)), who continue to disregard the test series and do not count its matches in their records).[2] England's Rugby Football League on the other hand, who had been aligned with the Super League since 1995, does count the series' games as genuine test matches in their player records.[3]

The British team were attempting to win their first series against Australia since 1970.[4]

First Test[edit]

Saturday, 1 November
Great Britain United Kingdom 14 – 38 Australia Australia
Tries:
J. Lowes
J. Robinson


Goals:
A. Farrell (3)
Tries:
L. Daley (3)
B. Mullins (2)
C. Gower
D. Smith
Goals:
R. Girdler (5)
Wembley Stadium, London England
Attendance: 41,135[5]
Referee/s: Phil Houston New Zealand
Great Britain Position Australia
Jason Robinson FB Darren Lockyer
Alan Hunte WG Brett Mullins
Kris Radlinski CE Andrew Ettingshausen
Paul Newlove CE Ryan Girdler
Anthony Sullivan WG Wendell Sailor
Andy Farrell (c) SO Laurie Daley (c)
Bobbie Goulding SH Craig Gower
Brian McDermott PR Jason Stevens
James Lowes HK Steve Walters
Paul Broadbent PR Brad Thorn
Chris Joynt SR Matt Adamson
Mick Cassidy SR Gorden Tallis
Paul Sculthorpe LF Darren Smith
Steve McNamara Int. Robbie Kearns
Paul Atcheson Int. Craig Greenhill
Adrian Morley Int. Ken Nagas
Dean Sampson Int. Brett Kimmorley
Andy Goodway Coach John Lang

This was Australia's first visit to Wembley Stadium since the ARL-only Kangaroos' 16-8 win over England in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup Final. Great Britain on the other hand, were hoping for a repeat of their Wembley victories over Australia to begin both the 1990 and 1994 Ashes Series.[6] An Australian team drawn from the rebel Super League competition was much too good for a Britain team coached by former Great Britain international Andy Goodway and captained by giant Wigan lock forward Andy Farrell.

Former Aussie international John Lang was coach of the Australians with the team captained by Laurie Daley, a veteran of the successful 1990 and 1994 Kangaroo tours, and one of only four players in the team who had played a test at Wembley (Daley, Wendell Sailor and Steve Walters had played in 1994, while Andrew Ettinghausen had played in both 1990 and 1994). Future great of the game Darren Lockyer made his international debut for Australia at fullback.

It was the last time Australia would play at the old Wembley Stadium which was demolished in 2003. The victory giving Australia a 2-3 record at the famous old stadium dating back to the first test of the 1973 Kangaroo Tour. The Kangaroos would next get to play Wembley in October 2011, that time at the new Wembley Stadium when they defeated England 36-20 in the 2011 Four Nations.

Second Test[edit]

This game remains the only time that an Australian team has lost at Old Trafford.

Saturday, 8 November
Great Britain United Kingdom 20 – 12 Australia Australia
Tries:
A. Farrell
J. Robinson
Goals:
A. Farrell (6)
Tries:
C. Gower
S. Walters
Goals:
D. Lockyer (2)
Old Trafford, Manchester England
Attendance: 40,324
Referee/s: Phil Houston New Zealand
Great Britain Position Australia
Paul Atcheson FB Darren Lockyer
Jason Robinson WG Ken Nagas
Kris Radlinski CE Andrew Ettingshausen
Paul Newlove CE Brett Mullins
Alan Hunte WG Wendell Sailor
Andy Farrell (c) SO Laurie Daley (c)
Bobbie Goulding SH Craig Gower
Brian McDermott PR Jason Stevens
James Lowes HK Steve Walters
Paul Broadbent PR Brad Thorn
Chris Joynt SR Matt Adamson
Adrian Morley SR Gorden Tallis
Paul Sculthorpe LF Darren Smith
Sean Long Int. Robbie Kearns
Simon Haughton Int. Craig Greenhill
Steve McNamara Int. Russell Richardson
Mike Forshaw Int.
Andy Goodway Coach John Lang

Great Britain dropped three players following their first test defeat; Mick Cassidy, Anthony Sullivan and Dean Sampson. Martin Crompton was also sacked from the squad after failing to report to training.[7]

Gordon Tallis was sin-binned for dissent in the second half. Andy Farrell was credited for inspiring the British to victory.[8]

Third Test[edit]

Sunday, 16 November
Great Britain United Kingdom 20 - 37 Australia Australia
Tries: S. Haughton (2), J. Robinson
Goals: A. Farrell (4)
Tries: W. Sailor (2), L. Daley, R. Kearns, K. Nagas, D. Smith, B. Thorn
Goals: R. Girdler (4)
Field goal: D. Lockyer
Elland Road, Leeds England
Attendance: 39,337
Referee/s: Phil Houston New Zealand
Man of the Match: Darren Smith
Great Britain Position Australia
Paul Atcheson FB Darren Lockyer
Jason Robinson WG Ken Nagas
Kris Radlinski CE Andrew Ettingshausen
Paul Newlove CE Ryan Girdler
Alan Hunte WG Wendell Sailor
Andy Farrell (c) SO Laurie Daley (c)
Bobbie Goulding SH Craig Gower
Brian McDermott PR Jason Stevens
James Lowes HK Steve Walters
Paul Broadbent PR Brad Thorn
Chris Joynt SR Gorden Tallis
Adrian Morley SR Bradley Clyde
Paul Sculthorpe LF Darren Smith
Sean Long Int. Robbie Kearns
Simon Haughton Int. Matt Adamson
Steve McNamara Int. Brett Kimmorley
Mike Forshaw Int. Russell Richardson
Andy Goodway Coach John Lang


References[edit]

  1. ^ Centrica scores from Rugby deal Marketing, 25 September 1997
  2. ^ australianrugbyleague.com.au. "Player Register". Australian Rugby League. ARL. 
  3. ^ "Great Britain international stats". englandrl.co.uk. Rugby Football League. 
  4. ^ 1,000 FREE Test tickets to be won The Mirror, 28 October 1997
  5. ^ Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals - in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1 November 1997). "Britain must not rely on Wembley factor". The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Atcheson steps up as Crompton goes fishing The Independent, 6 November 1997
  8. ^ Farrell leads the great British revival The Independent, 9 November 1997

External links[edit]