The First Kangaroos

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The First Kangaroos
Directed by Frank Cvitanovich
Produced by Moya Iceton
Written by Nigel Williams
Based on an original idea by Frank Cvitanovich
Starring Dennis Waterman
Chris Haywood
Dominic Sweeney
Music by William Motzing
Cinematography Ross Berryman
Edited by Richard Hindley
Roadshow, Coote & Carroll
Release date
Running time
101 mins
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The First Kangaroos is a 1988 British–Australian made for TV sports film directed by Frank Cvitanovich and starring Dennis Waterman, Chris Haywood and Dominic Sweeney.[1] It depicts the 1908–09 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain, the first-ever such tour by the Australia national rugby league team.[2]

The First Kangaroos drew complaints from the Granddaughter of British rugby league legend Albert Goldthorpe for its villainous depiction of him.[3]

Some scenes featured the grandstand of Arlington Oval in the inner-western Sydney suburb Dulwich Hill which hosted women's competitions of the 1938 British Empire Games.[4]


Both Wayne Pearce (Balmain Tigers) and Andrew Ettingshausen (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks) were current Australian rugby league test players when the film was released. Pearce had been a member of the undefeated 1982 Kangaroo tour, while Ettingshausen would go on to be the leading try scorer on both the 1990 and 1994 Kangaroo Tours.


Karen Hardy, reviewing the film in 2013 said, "Sure, it wasn't the finest sports movie ever made but there was humour - intentional or not, I wasn't quite sure - and conflict and pathos. And its story, which it admitted in the opening credits was sort of based on true events, was an interesting one."[5]


  1. ^ The First Kangaroos at
  2. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p62
  3. ^ John Robinson and Garrett Jones (8 June 1988). "Family fights to clear League Hero's Name". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. p. 74. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  4. ^ History, Dulwich Hill FC (per 10 April 2014).
  5. ^ Hardy, Karen (12 October 2013). "Tall tales of the first Kangaroos still strike a chord today". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 

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