Anzac Test

The Anzac Test is an annual rugby league football test match played annually between Australia and New Zealand for the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy.

Between 1997 and 2017 the annual test was played mid season. From 2018, the test will be played in October after the NRL season has concluded.[1][2]

Anzac Test
2005 Anzac Test logo
SportRugby league
Inaugural season1997
Number of teams2
Countries Australia
 New Zealand
Trophy holders New Zealand (2018)
Most titles Australia (16 titles)
Broadcast partnerNine Network (Australia)
Sky Sport (New Zealand)

History

Origins

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 test was revived the following year.

Naming controversy

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 national RSL President 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".[3]

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.[4] This permission was given for the event from 1997–1999.[5]

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.[6] Despite the official name change, it is still common for the match to be called the Anzac Test.[7] In 2016 it was sponsored by the Downer Group.[8]

Trophy

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.

Revival after 2008 World Cup

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 as a number of NZ players were based in the Super League which had switched to a summer season in 1996 and clubs were reluctant to release their players for a game on the other side of the world. 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.".[11]

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,[12] the annual mid-season test between Australia and New Zealand was revived. The 2009 fixture was played on 8 May at Brisbane's Lang Park.[7]

The 2010 Anzac Test, played on 7 May, was the first game of football at Melbourne's newly constructed AAMI Park. 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 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The 2012 Anzac Test was held at Eden Park, Auckland, on 20 April and was adjudicated by English Referee, Richard Silverwood. This was the first Anzac Test to be played in New Zealand since 1998.

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 2014 Anzac Test played at the Sydney Football Stadium on 2 May, saw test football return to Sydney for the first time since the 2010 Four Nations. The 2015 Anzac Test, played at Lang Park, 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. The 2016 Anzac Test was played at Hunter Stadium on 6 May, the first time the match was played in Newcastle since 2004. The Kangaroos won the match 16-0.

Demise

In August 2015 the National Rugby League (NRL) announced a new $925 million (Australian) TV deal. A key component of the deal was increased provisions promoting player welfare and satisfaction, shortening the NRL regular season from 26 weeks to 25. The traditional early-May representative weekend was removed from the calendar, with the Anzac Test disbanded. Australia-New Zealand tests and other international series will be given "new priority" in a dedicated window after the NRL season. The Pacific tests were shifted to a Sunday afternoon slot, on the same day as game 2 of the State of Origin series.[13]

The final test was played on 5 May 2017 at the Canberra Stadium with the Kangaroos winning 30–12 in front of 18,535 fans, the lowest attendance in Anzac Test history.[14]

Men's Test Match Results

Australia have won all but three Anzac Tests, while New Zealand have hosted only three tests.

Year Winners Score Runner Up Venue City/Town Attendance
1997  Australia 34–22  New Zealand Sydney Football Stadium Sydney 23,829
1998  New Zealand 22–16[15]  Australia North Harbour Stadium Auckland 25,000
1999  Australia 20–14[16]  New Zealand Stadium Australia Sydney 30,245
2000  Australia 52–0  New Zealand Stadium Australia Sydney 26,023
2004  Australia 37–10  New Zealand Newcastle International Sports Centre Newcastle 21,537
2005  Australia 32–16[17]  New Zealand Brisbane Football Stadium Brisbane 40,317
2006  Australia 50–12  New Zealand Brisbane Football Stadium Brisbane 44,191
2007  Australia 30–6  New Zealand Brisbane Football Stadium Brisbane 35,241
2008  Australia 28–12  New Zealand Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 34,571
2009  Australia 38–10  New Zealand Brisbane Football Stadium Brisbane 37,152
2010  Australia 12–8  New Zealand Melbourne Football Stadium Melbourne 29,442[18]
2011  Australia 20–10  New Zealand Gold Coast Football Stadium Gold Coast 26,301
2012  Australia 20–12  New Zealand Eden Park Auckland 35,329
2013  Australia 32–12  New Zealand Canberra Football Stadium Canberra 25,628
2014  Australia 30–18  New Zealand Sydney Football Stadium Sydney 25,429
2015  New Zealand 26–12  Australia Brisbane Football Stadium Brisbane 32,681
2016  Australia 16–0  New Zealand Newcastle International Sports Centre Newcastle 27,724
2017  Australia 30–12  New Zealand Canberra Football Stadium Canberra 18,535
2018  New Zealand 26-24  Australia Mount Smart Stadium Auckland 12,763

Overall tally

Team Wins
Flag of Australia.svg Australia1 16
Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 3
  1. Includes the Australia (Super League) victory in 1997.

Women's Test Match Results

The Women's Anzac Test Match is the Women's rugby league version of the game and has been running since 2015.

Year Winners Score Runner Up Venue City/Town Attendance
2015  Australia 22-14  New Zealand Brisbane Football Stadium Brisbane
2016  New Zealand 26-16  Australia Newcastle International Sports Centre Newcastle
2017  Australia 16-4  New Zealand Canberra Football Stadium Canberra
2018  Australia 26-24  New Zealand Mt Smart Stadium Auckland

Overall tally

Team Wins
Flag of Australia.svg Australia 3
Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand 1

See also

References

  1. ^ McCann, Liam (2006). Rugby: Facts, Figures and Fun. UK: AAPPL Artists' and Photographers' Press. p. 80.
  2. ^ League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. 2008. pp. vii. ISBN 978-1-876944-64-3.
  3. ^ "NZ-Anzac". www.diggerhistory.info. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Killing Anzac". www.diggerhistory.info. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b NZRL Media release. "Marshall to Captain Pirtek Kiwis in Anzac Test". League Unlimited. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  8. ^ Downer to sponsor Test Match National Rugby League 13 April 2016
  9. ^ "Rugby League - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News Sport. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  10. ^ "Fan steals Anzac Cup". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 May 2006.
  11. ^ Michael Brown (10 June 2007). "League: NZRL move to red card Anzac tests". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  12. ^ "League: League: Aussies grumpy over schedule release". New Zealand Herald. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  13. ^ "Anzac test axed as part of new NRL TV deal". stuff.co.nz. 8 October 2015.
  14. ^ "NRL 2017: Canberra to host final Anzac Test, Mal Meninga back international changes". Fox Sports. 13 February 2017.
  15. ^ "ANZAC Test 2014 Kiwis Media Guide" (PDF). nzrl.co.nz. New Zealand Rugby Leaguetitle=Queensland to host international blockbusters. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Annual Report 2005" (PDF). ausport.gov.au. Australian Rugby League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2009. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  18. ^ http://sportal.com.au/league-news-display/kangas-resist-late-surge-90828

External links

1997 Anzac Test

The 1997 ANZAC test was the first annual Anzac test played between Australia and New Zealand. Conceived by the rebel Super League competition, any players aligned with the Australian Rugby League were not available for selection. The game was played on ANZAC Day, 25 April 1997 at the Sydney Football Stadium in front of 23,829 and was won by Australia 34-22.

1998 Anzac Test

The 1998 Anzac test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at the North Harbour Stadium 24 April 1998. It was the 2nd Anzac test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997 and the first to be played in New Zealand.

Australia led 12-6 at half time after two tries to Terry Hill while Kevin Iro crossed for the home side, but the Kiwis came back thanks to two tries after half time by Sean Hoppe and Terry Hermansson which saw NZ lead 18-12. After Steve Renouf scored with only his 3rd touch of the game midway through the second half, the game was in the balance with the score at 18-16. Kevin Iro then put the result beyond doubt with his second try with 2 minutes remaining to give the home side a 22-16 win in front of an almost full house of 24,620 fans. This was New Zealand's first win over Australia since the first test of the 1991 Trans-Tasman Test series at the Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne.

2004 Anzac Test

The 2004 ANZAC test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at the EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle on 23 April 2004. It was the 5th Anzac test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997 and the first to be played in Newcastle.

2005 Anzac Test

The 2005 Anzac Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 22 April 2005. It was the 6th Anzac test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997 and the first to be played in Brisbane.

2007 Anzac Test

The 2007 ANZAC test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 20 April 2007. It was the 8th Anzac test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997 and the third to be played in Brisbane.

2008 Anzac Test

The 2008 ANZAC test, also known as the Centenary Test as it commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first test match between the two countries, was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 9 May 2008. Commemorating the first trans-Tasman Test match, which was also played at Sydney on the same day in 1908, it was the 9th Anzac test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997. This was the first test played at the SCG since Australia had defeated New Zealand 29-12 in 1986 and the first ever rugby league test played under lights at the ground.For the game, the Kangaroos played in replica jumpers that were used until the first Green and Gold jumpers appeared in 1928. On this night the Kangaroos jumpers were Sky Blue and Maroon hoops depicting the states of New South Wales and Queensland. It was the first time the Kangaroos had worn their alternate test jumpers in a test match since their two test series against South Africa in 1963.This was the 112th test between Australia and New Zealand since 1908.

2009 Anzac Test

The 2009 ANZAC test, was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 8 May 2009. It was the 10th Anzac test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997. This was the fourth Anzac Test played in Brisbane.

This was the 112th test between Australia and New Zealand since 1908.

2010 Anzac Test

The 2010 ANZAC Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand on 7 May 2010. The match coincided with the official opening of AAMI Park in Melbourne. The match was won by Australia with a score of 12–8.

2010 Pacific Rugby League Tests

There were four Pacific Rugby League Internationals in 2010. The first was the ANZAC test in May. Then Samoa and Fiji in June. In June there were two games between Samoa and New Zealand and then the Polynesian Cup between Samoa and Tonga.

2011 Anzac Test

The 2011 ANZAC Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand on 6 May 2011 at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast. Australia won their tenth straight Anzac test with a score of 20–10.

2012 Anzac Test

The 2012 ANZAC test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park on 20 April 2012. It was the 13th Anzac test played between the two nations.

Australian five-eighth, Johnathan Thurston scored a try and kicked four goals from four attempts, and was named man-of-the-match.English referee Richard Silverwood's performance drew criticism in the media.

2013 Anzac Test

The 2013 ANZAC test (also known as the VB Test due to sponsorship by Victoria Bitter) was the 14th annual Anzac test, and was not only the first time the Australian Kangaroos played at Canberra Stadium, but the first time they had played in the Australia's capital city. They defeated New Zealand 32-12 in the Test match which was played on 19 April 2013 before a crowd of 25,628.

2013 Pacific Rugby League Test

The 2013 Pacific Rugby League International was created in advance of the international 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaigns played between Samoa and Tonga. Tonga won the test match 36–4. Tonga's Samisoni Langi won the player of the match award, scoring 16 points from two attempts and four conversions.

Controversy occurred late in the match, as the game was ended before Langi had the chance to convert the final try because fans invaded the pitch.Both teams selected new players, with the most experienced players appearing between 3-8 times. The most experienced players in the test match were Tonga's Richard Fa'aoso and Etu Uaisele who both made 8 previous appearances. Samoa's most experienced player was Ben Roberts who made 3 previous appearances. All players were contracted to NRL clubs (though some were still playing in the NYC, except for Tongan winger Etu Uaisele who played for the Wyong Roos in the New South Wales Cup.

Also that weekend was the ANZAC test.

2014 Anzac Test

The 2014 Anzac Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on 2 May 2014. It was the 15th Anzac Test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997. It was also the first Test match played in Sydney since the 2010 Four Nations tournament. A Women's All Stars Match which is the Women's rugby league version of the game was played as the main curtain raiser for the Test, which was won 24-0 by the Women's All Stars.

2014 Pacific Rugby League Test

The 2014 Pacific Rugby League International was played between Samoa and Fiji. The fixture was a qualifier for the 2014 Four Nations. Samoa won the test match by 32–16 after being behind 16–12 at half-time. Samoa's Penani Manumalealii won the man of the match award, scoring 3 tries in the match.

Samoa picked 7 debutantes for the test match, while Fiji featured three. All of the Samoan team were National Rugby League based players, while the Fijian side had 10 players from the NRL. Samoa's most capped player was Daniel Vidot who made his 6th appearance for his country, while Fiji's most experienced players were Alipate Noilea, Aaron Groom, and captain Ashton Sims who all made their 10th appearance for their nation.

2015 Anzac Test

The 2015 Anzac Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It was the 16th Anzac Test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997. Both sides were announced on 26 April. The game was originally scheduled to take place on 1 May, but it was postponed due to bad weather. The Test instead took place on May 3rd, along with a Women's rugby league match between the Australian Jillaroos and New Zealand Kiwi Ferns which served as the curtain-raiser for the main game, won 22-14 by the Jillaroos.New Zealand's win was their first Anzac Test win in 17 years, and the first time New Zealand had won three consecutive test matches over Australia since 1953.As man of the match, Manu Vatuvei was awarded the Charles Savory medal.

2016 Anzac Test

The 2016 Anzac Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle. It was the 17th Anzac Test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997.

The game marked the international coaching debut of Mal Meninga for Australia since taking over the position from Tim Sheens in late 2015. Meninga, a 4 time Kangaroo Tourist (the only player ever to do so), a World Cup winning captain and a veteran of 46 tests for Australia between 1982–94, has previously coached Queensland to 9 State of Origin series wins in 10 years (including a record 8 series wins in succession from 2006-2013) in the years prior to taking over as Kangaroos coach.

This was the first of two matches between Australia and New Zealand before the 2016 Rugby League Four Nations in late October and November. The second match will be played at the nib Stadium in Perth, Western Australia on 15 October.

Meninga broke tradition and named the Australian team a few days early, which included 4 debutants; Blake Ferguson, Josh McGuire, Michael Morgan and Fijian-born Semi Radradra.The New Zealand team was named on 1 May.

2017 Anzac Test

The 2017 Anzac Test was a rugby league test match played between Australia and New Zealand at Canberra Stadium. It was the 18th and last Anzac Test played between the two nations since the first was played under the Super League banner in 1997. The match was played on 5 May 2017.The Australian team was announced on 26 April, while the New Zealand team was announced on 30 April with the starters and 18th man named on 4 May.The Junior Kangaroos beat the Junior Kiwis.

List of New Zealand Kiwis matches

Since the 1907–1908 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain, where the New Zealand side participated in the first ever rugby league test matches, the New Zealand Kiwis have participated in over 300 tests. Historically matches have been played in three or two match tours but recently one-off tests and tournaments such as the Four Nations have become more popular. New Zealand won the Tri-Nations in 2005, the World Cup in 2008 and the Four Nations in 2010 and 2014.

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