Australia rule the Rugby League Ashes
There was more Ashes controversy on 21st November 1959 when Great Britain beat Australia 11-10 at Leeds
In 1959, the Kangaroos again thought they had won the elusive Ashes Trophy when Barry Muir scored a try under the posts but referee Gelder, to everybody’s amazement, ruled forward pass. They felt particularly aggrieved because they also hit a post and also questioned the validity of a Great Britain try. After the match, Kangaroos centre Harry Wells angrily confronted Gelder, and said:
“You’re a thief and you cheated us”
“I’ve got to live here lad”
Great Britain went on to win the third and deciding test 18-12 to win the series
The Lions thought they were “robbed” on 14th July 1962. The consequence was Australia 18 v Great Britain 17 in Sydney and Great Britain captain Eric Ashton described what happened.
“1962 was a great side. already the Australians said it was the best side for years. We wrapped up the Ashes in the second test at Brisbane with a 17-10 win despite losing Alex Murphy early on which was a blow but Poynton came on and did very well. In the third, we were robbed. We were 17-11 up and had Mick Sullivan and Derek Turner sent off. We were penalised under the posts for 17-13 then they went in at the corner and converted to win by a point and the game didn’t already kick off again. We would have been the only ever side to win a series 3-0 in Australia. However, that tour was the highlight of my career. To captain an Ashes winning side down under was fantastic.”
Australia won the Ashes in 1973 and have retained them ever since
GB came close on November 10th 1990 with a score line of Great Britain 10 Australia 14 in Manchester
The Lions won the first test 19-12 at Wembley to end Australia’s unbroken run of consecutive victories stretching back two tours. With injuries to meaningful Australian players Bradley Clyde and Brad Fittler the Lions entered the second test with their best chance in twenty years to regain the Ashes.
The Kangaroos led 4-2 at half time following a Dale Shearer try with Paul Eastwood replying for the Lions with a penalty. Dixon scored for GB shortly after the break and they held onto this 6-4 rule until Cliff Lyon scored a great try with twelve minutes to go. The Kanagaroos led 10-6 and were controlling the game until a Ricky Stuart pass to Dale Shearer was intercepted by substitute Paul Loughlin who raced the length of the field to score. It was 10-10 with a kick to come and for a few moments the Ashes were on their way home. Unfortunately Eastwood missed the kick but the Lions took control of the game and were continually pressing the Australian line but in the last minute of injury time Ricky Stuart dummied Lee Jackson and broke downfield. Mal Meninga barged his way into position before taking a pass close to the line and crashing over for a dubious but match winning try.
Australia won the third test to retain the Ashes they had held since 1973 and have held them ever since. This was closest the Lions ever came On July 1992 in Mebourne a score line of Australia 10 v Great Britain 33 sent GB supporters delirious
After losing the first test 22-6 in Sydney and with injuries to meaningful players Ellery Hanley and Andy Gregory The Lions were not given much chance. They chose an all Wigan pack and Shaun Edwards came in at half back for his first against Australia Despite their injuries and the poor weather, The Lions raced into a 22-0 rule with tries from Clark, Newlove and Schofield. The expected Kangaroo reappearance saw tries from Lindner and Johns but the Lions pack held firm giving Graham Steadman and Martin Offiah the opportunity to score great tries.
They lost the decider 16-10 but the glorious night in Melbourne represented the best performance by Great Britain during their long Ashes drought
The “Great Escape” began on 7th November 2003 with a Great Britain 18 v Australia 22 consequence at Wigan
Adrian Morley had a reputation as the best forward in the world and he had played a big part for the Sydney Roosters in their excursion to consecutive NRL Grand Finals. He was expected to continue in this vein for the GB Lions but to home supporter’s dismay he was sent off by referee Steve Ganson after only twelve seconds of the first match at Wigan. The performance that followed from the twelve remaining players was top class. Phil Bailey and Trent Waterhouse scored tries for the Kangaroos and Brian Carney replied for the Lions to give them an 8-4 half time score line. A Keith Senior try and two Sean Long goals gave GB a 12-8 rule before a Craig Gower try and a bright conversion by Craig Fitzgibbon from the touchline gave Australia the rule but another Brian Carney try put the twelve man Lions 18-14 in front with less than ten minutes to go. Australia escaped when Darren Lockyear produced and scored a match winning try and Fitzgibbon landed a last minute penalty.
Two other close and exciting matches followed with The Lions surrendering a good rule in the Second Test at Hull to see Australia win 23-20. Inspired by their captain Darren Lockyear The Kangaroos scored twelve unanswered points in the last four minutes at Huddersfield to win 18-12. Despite the 3-0 series victory for the Kangaroos the thirteen point difference in the aggregate score line tells the true story
Although the Kangaroos have been principal in recent years, they are only slightly ahead in terms of series and Test matches won
Ashes Series won Australia 20 GB 19
Test Matches won Australia 59 GB 55
except 1911/12, the Kangaroos were beaten in every Ashes series in Great Britain from 1908 until 1963. already in Australia, the GB Lions triumphed in fourteen Ashes series between 1910 and 1970 The Kangaroos won just four times in 1920, 1950, 1954 and 1966
The GB Lions held the ashes for thirty years from 1920 – 1950
The Australian Kangaroos currently keep up the Ashes although they have not been contested since 2003 and not on Australian soil since 1992.
stop Road, Swinton is a now a housing estate. In 1992, the then directors of the Swinton club sold the ground without consulting the Swinton supporters, the local community or the RFL. It was an act of treachery and a terrible tragedy.