Super League Test series
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, it went to a decider in the third test which was won by Australia.
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 series and do not count its matches in their records). 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.
The British team were attempting to win their first series against Australia since 1970.
Saturday, 1 November
|Great Britain||14 – 38||Australia|
A. Farrell (3)
L. Daley (3)
B. Mullins (2)
R. Girdler (5)
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. It was also the 6th and final time the Australians would play at the famous venue until the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations when they played England at the new Wembley Stadium. 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. 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.
This game remains the only time that an Australian team has lost at Old Trafford.
Saturday, 8 November
|Great Britain||20 – 12||Australia|
A. Farrell (6)
D. Lockyer (2)
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.
Sunday, 16 November
|Great Britain||20 - 37||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
- Centrica scores from Rugby deal Marketing, 25 September 1997
- australianrugbyleague.com.au. "Player Register". Australian Rugby League. ARL.
- "Great Britain international stats". englandrl.co.uk. Rugby Football League.
- 1,000 FREE Test tickets to be won The Mirror, 28 October 1997
- Wilson, Andy (4 November 2011). "Wembley Rugby League internationals - in pictures". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Hadfield, Dave (1 November 1997). "Britain must not rely on Wembley factor". The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- Atcheson steps up as Crompton goes fishing The Independent, 6 November 1997
- Farrell leads the great British revival The Independent, 9 November 1997
- Great Britain vs Australia SL 1997 at rugbyleagueproject.org