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1985 Kangaroo tour of New Zealand

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The 1985 Kangaroo Tour of New Zealand was a mid-season tour of New Zealand by the Australia national rugby league team. The Australians played six matches on tour, including the final two games of a three-game test series against the New Zealand with the first test taking place in Brisbane on 18 June. The NZ tour began on 19 June and finished on 10 July.[1]

Contents

LeadershipEdit

After long time coach Frank Stanton stepped down from representative coaching duties after Australia's successful defense of The Ashes in 1984 against the touring Great Britain Lions, the Australian Rugby League appointed former World Cup and Parramatta Eels coach Terry Fearnley as head coach of the Kangaroos. The team was captained by Wally Lewis who had also captained the team in 1984.

ControversyEdit

While he was named Australian coach, Terry Fearnley had also been appointed as New South Wales State of Origin coach in 1985. The Blues won their first ever Origin series in 1985 after winning games 1 and two. In what was to prove a case of bad planning, the test series and the tour of New Zealand were scheduled to take place between games 2 and 3 of the Origin series.

Rumours soon surfaced that Fearnley and Lewis did not get along on tour. Lewis later confirmed this by admitting in television interviews that the pair hated each other while Fearnley openly admitted that in light of the circumstances he could have done a better job in bringing the team together. Lewis also publicly stated that he believed Fearnley openly favoured the teams vice-captain, NSW's Wayne Pearce as well as the rest of the Kangaroos who were in his NSW team. At one point before the third test in Auckland, Lewis claimed to have caught Fearnley and Pearce going over team selection in Fearnely's hotel room, something strongly denied by the pair.

Fearnley himself created controversy on the tour. In the book King Wally which was published in 1987, Wally Lewis claimed that Fearnley had said of team member Michael O'Connor (a NSW player) "Can't play, no heart. Lucky he can kick goals or he wouldn't be here". The publishing of this story led to some animosity over the coming years between Lewis and O'Connor despite them being regular test team mates until the end of 1989. But the biggest controversy came from the team selection for the third test. Fearnley dropped four players from the second test win, all Queenslanders (Chris Close, Mark Murray, Greg Dowling and Greg Conescu - Close and Dowling dropped to the bench), which caused all hell to break loose and prompted Queensland Rugby League Chairman, Senator Ron McAuliffe, to publicly condemn the dropping of the four Queensland players from a winning Test side, saying "Its a football assassination and beyond all reasoning. And there can be no reasonable excuse for it".[2]

With the replacement players in place (Steve Ella, Des Hasler, Peter Tunks and Benny Elias), the disjointed Kangaroos would go on to lose the third test 18–0, the first time they had been held scoreless since losing 19–0 to Great Britain in 1956. Such was the animosity in the group between the NSW and Qld players that according to second row forward Paul Vautin (a Queenslander), dropped players Mark Murray and Greg Conescu acted as the Australian teams statisticians for the game. In his book Fatty: The Strife and Times of Paul Vautin, he told that both recorded a number of errors that were actually made by team mates to the players who replaced them in the side, Hasler and Elias.[3]

Terry Fearnley stepped down as Australian coach following the tour. He would be replaced in 1986 by 1956–57 Kangaroo tourist and Canberra Raiders head coach Don Furner.

As a result of the problems during the tour, the Australian Rugby League made a number of decisions for future Australian teams, including:

  • No current State of Origin coach can also be the current Australian coach.
  • Mid-season test series will take place after the Origin series and not during one to avoid bringing the NSW vs Qld rivalry into the Australian team.

Touring squadEdit

First testEdit

Immediately prior to the tour, the first test took place at Lang Park in Brisbane on 18 June. This match is most remembered for the sideline fight between rival prop forwards Greg Dowling and Kevin Tamati after the pair had been sent to the sin-bin for fighting.[4]

Tuesday, 18 June
Australia   26 – 20   New Zealand
Tries:
John Ribot (2)
Noel Cleal
Chris Close
Goals:
Mal Meninga (2)
John Ribot (1)
[5] Tries:
Dean Bell
Olsen Filipaina
Hugh McGahan
Goals:
Olsen Filipaina (4)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 22,000
Referee: Julien Rascagneres  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Australia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Zealand
FB 1   Garry Jack
LW 2   John Ribot
RC 3   Chris Close
LC 4   Mal Meninga
RW 5   John Ferguson
FE 6   Wally Lewis (c)
HB 7   Mark Murray
PR 8   Greg Dowling
HK 9   Greg Conescu
PR 10   Steve Roach
SR 11   Noel Cleal
SR 12   Peter Wynn
LF 13   Wayne Pearce
Substitutions:
IC 14   Steve Ella
IC 15   Peter Tunks
Coach:
  Terry Fearnley
FB 1   Gary Kemble
LW 2   Dean Bell
RC 3   Gary Prohm
LC 4   James Leuluai
RW 5   Dane O'Hara
FE 6   Olsen Filipaina
HB 7   Clayton Friend
PR 8   Owen Wright
HK 9   Howie Tamati
PR 10   Kevin Tamati
SR 11   Kurt Sorensen
SR 12   Mark Graham (c)
LK 13   Hugh McGahan
Substitutions:
IC 14   Riki Cowan
IC 15   Mark Elia
Coach:
  Graham Lowe

TourEdit

The Australian's played six games on the tour, winning five.




Second testEdit

The Australian's escaped with a 10-6 win over New Zealand thanks to a last minute try to winger John Ribot.

Sunday, 30 June
New Zealand   6 – 10   Australia
Tries:
James Leuluai
Goals:
Olsen Filipaina (1)
[1] Tries:
John Ribot
Goals:
Mal Meninga (2)
John Ribot (1)
Carlaw Park, Auckland
Attendance: 19,132
Referee: Julien Rascagneres  
Man of the Match: Olsen Filipaina  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Australia
FB 1   Gary Kemble
LW 2   Dean Bell
RC 3   Gary Prohm
LC 4   James Leuluai
RW 5   Dane O'Hara
FE 6   Olsen Filipaina
HB 7   Clayton Friend
PR 8   Owen Wright
HK 9   Howie Tamati
PR 10   Kevin Tamati
SR 11   Kurt Sorensen
SR 12   Mark Graham (c)
LK 13   Hugh McGahan
Substitutions:
IC 14   Joe Ropati
IC 15   Riki Cowan
Coach:
  Graham Lowe
FB 1   Garry Jack
LW 2   John Ribot
RC 3   Chris Close
LC 4   Mal Meninga
RW 5   John Ferguson
FE 6   Wally Lewis (c)
HB 7   Mark Murray
PR 8   Greg Dowling
HK 9   Greg Conescu
PR 10   Steve Roach
SR 11   Paul Vautin
SR 12   Peter Wynn
LF 13   Wayne Pearce
Substitutions:
IC 14   Noel Cleal
IC 15   Steve Ella
Coach:
  Terry Fearnley


Third testEdit

The dead rubber third test also doubled as the first game of the 1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup tournament. John Ribot, Steve Ella, John Ferguson, Peter Wynn and Chris Close played their last tests for Australia.

Sunday, 7 July
New Zealand   18 – 0   Australia
Tries:
Clayton Friend (2)
James Leuluai
Goals:
Olsen Filipaina (3)
[2] Tries:


Goals:
Carlaw Park, Auckland
Attendance: 15,327
Referee: Julien Rascagneres  
Man of the Match: Clayton Friend  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Australia
FB 1   Gary Kemble
LW 2   Dean Bell
RC 3   Gary Prohm
LC 4   James Leuluai
RW 5   Dane O'Hara
FE 6   Olsen Filipaina
HB 7   Clayton Friend
PR 8   Owen Wright
HK 9   Howie Tamati
PR 10   Kevin Tamati
SR 11   Kurt Sorensen
SR 12   Mark Graham (c)
LK 13   Hugh McGahan
Substitutions:
IC 14   Joe Ropati
IC 15   Riki Cowan
Coach:
  Graham Lowe
FB 1   Garry Jack
LW 2   John Ribot
RC 3   Mal Meninga
LC 4   Brett Kenny
RW 5   John Ferguson
FE 6   Wally Lewis (c)
HB 7   Des Hasler
PR 8   Peter Tunks
HK 9   Benny Elias
PR 10   Steve Roach
SR 11   Paul Vautin
SR 12   Peter Wynn
LF 13   Wayne Pearce
Substitutions:
IC 14   Chris Close
IC 15   Greg Dowling
Coach:
  Terry Fearnley


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 1985 Kangaroo Tour of New Zealand @ Rugby League Project
  2. ^ McGregor, Adrian (1987). King Wally. Qld: Tandem Press. ISBN 9780908884353.
  3. ^ Colman, Mike (1992). Fatty: The Strife and Times of Paul Vautin. Sydney: Ironbark Press. ISBN 9781875471171.
  4. ^ Dowling vs Tamati fight
  5. ^ 1st Test - Australia vs New Zealand
  6. ^ South Island vs Australia
  7. ^ Central Districts vs Australia
  8. ^ Northern Districts vs Australia
  9. ^ Auckland vs Australia

External linksEdit