Australia national rugby league team

Australia national rugby league team

Infobox rugby league nation
Name = Australia
Badge = Australian Kangaroos.jpg
Badge_size = 100px
Nickname = The Kangaroos
Association = Australian Rugby League
Region = Oceania
Coach = flagicon|Australia Ricky Stuart
Captain = Darren Lockyer
RLIF Rank = 1st
Most caps = Mal Meninga (45)
Top try-scorer = Ken Irvine (33)
Top point-scorer = Mal Meninga (272)
pattern_la1=_goldborder|pattern_b1=_ goldV|pattern_ra1=_goldborder
First game = flagicon|England England 22 - 22 Australia flagicon|Australia (London, England; December 1908)
Largest win = flagicon|Russia Russia 4 - 110 Australia flagicon|Australia (Hull, England; 4 November 2000)
Largest loss = flagicon|New Zealand New Zealand 24 - 0 Australia flagicon|Australia (Leeds, England; 26 November 2005)
World cup apps = 12
World cup first = 1954
World cup best = Winners, 1957; 1968; 1970;
1975; 1977; 1988; 1992;
1995; 2000
The Australia national rugby league team have represented Australia in rugby league football since the inception of that sport in Australia in 1908. They are the current world champions of international rugby league. Since 7 July 1994 the team's official nickname has been the Kangaroos, though they had been referred to unofficially as that for a long time. The team is administered by the Australian Rugby League.

Previously, the Australian team was only referred to as the Kangaroos when on tours of Great Britain or France. In 1997 Australia was also represented by a "Super League Australia" team, drawing on players from that year's Super League competition.

On 13 December 2005 Ricky Stuart was appointed the team's coach [] . The Kangaroo's ranking in the RLIF World Rankings is world number 1.


Early days

Rugby football has been played in Australia since the 1860s. In 1863 Sydney University became the first rugby club to be formed in Sydney, and would play games amongst themselves or against the crews of visiting British ships. The Sydney Football Club (1865) and the Wallaroos (1870) followed, and inter-club competition commenced. By 1880, there were 100 clubs across the country, and rugby quickly became the dominant winter sport for Sydney. In 1888 an English team visited Australasia, playing rugby rules in Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand, and Australian rules football in Victoria and South Australia. In 1899, an Australian team was formed for the first time using players from Queensland and New South Wales. They played a series of Tests against a British team. A New Zealand team followed in 1903. By 1907, Sydney club games were attracting up to 20,000 people, with all profits going to the New South Wales Rugby Union, as rugby at the time was officially an amateur sport. This caused discontent among players, and in 1908 the New South Wales Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League were formed.


In the first half of the 20th century, Australia's international competition came from alternating tours to Great Britain and New Zealand, with Australia playing host to these teams in non-tour years. On tours to Great Britain (and later France), Australia was known as the Kangaroos. Great Britain dominated in the early years, and Australia did not win a Test against the Lions until 11 November 1911 under captain Chris McKivat. Australia did not win a series at home against Great Britain until 1920 or abroad until 1958. The first Kangaroos arrived in England on the 27th September 1908, and played their first ever test against the Northern Union in December in London. It finished 22 all in front of a crowd of 2,000. The second test in Newcastle in January 1909 attracted a crowd of 22,000, and the Northern Union won 15-5. The third test was played at Villa Park, Birmingham, the Northern Union winning again 6-5 before a crowd of 9,000. The Australians suggested that the series should be named 'The Ashes' after the cricket series of the same name. The first British tour of the Southern Hemisphere began on 4th June 1910, when the Northern Union played New South Wales in front of 33,000 spectators in Sydney, losing 28-14. But they won the first test in Sydney against Australia 27-20 in front of 42,000. They then won the second test in Brisbane 22-17. In Auckland, on 30th July, they defeated New Zealand 52-20. In January 1922, an 'England' side defeated Australia 6-0 at The Willows, Salford, to win back the Ashes that had been lost in 1920. They would not be lost again until 1950.

The Australian national team first wore green and gold in a hooped design, on Saturday 23rd June 1928, when they met Great Britain in the first Test at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. Britain led 10-2 after 25 minutes, 13-7 at half time and, after a nervous second half, eventually claimed the Test 15-12. The England team won both the 1928 series in Australia and New Zealand by two tests to one. They were presented with the Ashes Trophy by the Australians, which the two countries have competed for ever since.

Post war

Australia made their 7th tour to the UK in 1948, and this time play the Ashes series against a side officially called Great Britain. In 1956 Great Britain defeated Australia 19-0 at Station Road, Swinton, to take the Ashes series 2-1. This was the last Ashes won on home soil to date. The last time that Great Britain won the Ashes was in 1970. They won the series 2-1 in Australia, out of 24 games played Great Britain won 22, drew one and lost one - making them the most successful British tourists so far. In 1978 Great Britain beat Australia in the second test 18-14, at Bradford, before a crowd of 26,447. It was to be 10 years, and 15 consecutive test defeats before Britain beat the Kangaroos again. Rugby league was taken into a new dimension by the 1982 Kangaroos side, also known as 'the Invincibles'. The Australian tourists beaome the first team to win every game of the tour (15 games) including the first test by 40-4 at Hull in front of 26,771 spectators.

In 1985, Australia made a six-match tour of New Zealand. The Kangaroos won five of those matches, and the Test series 2-1. Australia won the first Test in Brisbane 26-20. On Sunday 30 June 1985, Australia met New Zealand in the second Test at Carlaw Park, Auckland. The Test was a 20,000 sell-out, with all tickets accounted for weeks before the match. The Kiwis dominated long periods of the game but ninety seconds from time the Kiwis lost possession close to half way. John Ribot scored a try and Australia won 10-6. In 1986 a then record northern hemisphere crowd of 50,383 attends the first test of the Ashes series at Old Trafford. The Australians won 38-16. Canterbury's Terry Lamb became the first and only player to appear in every match on a Kangaroo Tour, which is a record that will never be equalled. This was the second consecutive tour of Europe in which they won all their games. In their two Tests against France, they ran in 96 points and conceded just a single penalty. After suffering such heavy losses, France decided to call off their proposed tour of Australia. Australia crashed to a defeat on Tuesday 21 July 1987, when the Kangaroo dominance of the international game suffered a rare setback. New Zealand were their opponents in a match which had been arranged to fill the gap created by the non-appearance of France. New Zealand won the game 13-6. The next four internationals between Australia and New Zealand were all staged in New Zealand, and all were won by the Kangaroos. On the 9th July 1988, Great Britain beat Australia 26-12 in Sydney to win the 3rd test, though the series had already been lost. Great Britain defeated Australia 19-12 in the first test at Wembley in 1990 in front of a new record home crowd of 54,567. However, the next two tests were narrowly lost, 14-10 and 14-0.

In 1992 Great Britain lost the 1st test 22-6 in Sydney, won the 2nd Ashes test 33-10 in Melbourne, but lost the 3rd test 16-10 in Brisbane. The 1992 World Cup final at Wembley set a record attendance for a rugby league international that still stands today: 73,631 saw Australia edge Great Britain 10-6. The 1994 Kangaroo Tour was to be the last time the Australian national team would play matches against British provincial teams, in additions to the Tests. Australia continued its dominance, winning both Test series against Great Britain and France, suffering only one loss (against Great Britain in the First Test), and remained undefeated against British club outfits in a streak stretching back to 1978. Australia adopted the name 'Kangaroos' for the 4 July 1994 test against France, since then the team has always been known by this name. Great Britain played a home series against the Australian Super League Test team in 1997 and lost 2-1. Despite the series being given official test status in the UK, these games are not regarded as a genuine Ashes series by the Australian Rugby League because so many Australian stars were again missing. The 1998 Kangaroo Tour was cancelled because of the Super League war. With the Super League War finally over in 1998, Great Britain travelled to the Southern Hemisphere for the first Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament with Australia and New Zealand in 1999. After two heavy defeats, it is obvious that a huge gap has opened up once again between the northern and southern hemispheres.

The new millennium

In 2001 the Australians arrived in Britain for the first Ashes series since 1994. Great Britain surprised everyone by winning the first test, but lost the next two. In July 2002 Great Britain suffered a record test defeat 64-10 to Australia in Sydney. In November 2003 Great Britain lost an Ashes series 0-3 on home soil. The margin was extremely small in each game and it was known as Brett Kimmorley's greatest series as he orchestrated Australia's last minute victories. However, the dominance of the Australian team over the last generation has begun to slip since 2003. In 2003 and 2005 New Zealand won the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy from Australia. Australia won the first two Rugby League Tri-Nations competitions in 1999 and 2004, before being defeated by New Zealand in the final of the 2005 competition on 26 November 2005. Prior to that defeat Australia had not lost a series since 10 December 1978, when they were defeated by France, 2-0. On November 4th 2006, Australia lost to Great Britain 23-12 [,8659,20702569-23214,00.html] . It was a huge upset, and the first time since 1988 that the Kangaroos had been beaten by Great Britain in Sydney. The match was Australia's 3rd match of the 2006 Tri-Nations series, having already secured a place in the final with a pair of wins against New Zealand earlier in the tournament. The Australian side reclaimed the title of Tri-Nations champions on November 25th with a victory over the New Zealand side in the final by 16-12. Australia will host the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and do not have to qualify.

War cry

From 1908 to 1967, the Australian team performed a war cry before Tests played in England and France. The war cry was first performed when the Kangaroos arrived at Tilbury Docks in England. It was developed after war cries had been performed on tours of England by the New Zealand All Blacks in 1905, the South African Springboks in 1906 and the New Zealand All Golds in 1907. It is believed that the war cry is derived from an indigenous chant on Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia.

The war cry was last performed by the Kangaroos in December 1967 in France.


In 1924 the decision was taken to change the national jersey's colours to green and gold. A green jersey with gold bands was used for Australia's next Test series in 1928, making the 1928 Kangaroos the first Australian representative rugby league team to adopt these colours. This design was revived for the 25 July 2003 Test against New Zealand. In 1929 the current design, which is green with two gold chevrons was adopted and first used. However, for the first twenty years of international competition, the jersey was in a state of flux. When playing in Australia the team would wear sky blue or maroon, depending on whether they were playing in New South Wales or Queensland. On tours, Australia would wear either the sky blue of New South Wales (as the New South Wales Rugby League organised the tours) or a maroon and sky blue hooped design. This design was revived in 1963 when Australia played South Africa, and again in the Centenary Test at the SCG on 9 May 2008.

2008 World Cup squad

"Announced on 7 October 2008"


*Arthur Hennessy (1908)
*Denis Lutge (1908)
*Alex Burdon (1909)
*Dally Messenger (1908-1910)
*Larry O'Malley (1909)
*Robert Graves (1909)
*Bill Heidke (1910)
*Chris McKivat (1910-1912)
*Sid Deane(1914)
*Arthur Halloway (1919)
*Albert "Rick" Johnston (1919-1920)
*Herb Gilbert (1920)
*Charles "Chook" Fraser (1921-1922)
* Jim Craig (1924)
*Tom Gorman (1928-1930)
*Herb Steinohrt (1932)
*Frank McMillan (1933)
*Peter "Mick" Madsen (1933)
*Dave Brown (1935-1936)
*Wally Prigg (1937-1938)
*Joe Jorgenson (1946)
*Ron Bailey (1946)
*Len Smith (1948)
*Col Maxwell (1948)
*Wally O'Connell(1948)
*Bill Tyquin (1949)
*Keith Froome (1949)
*Clive Churchill (1950-1954)
*Ken Kearney (1956-1957)
*Dick Poole (1957)
*Brian Davies (1958)
*Brian Carlson (1959-1961)
*Keith Barnes (1959-1962)
*Barry Muir (1960-1961)
*Reg Gasnier (1962-1967)
*Arthur Summons (1962-1964)
*Billy Wilson (1963)
*Ian Walsh (1963-1966)
*Peter Gallagher (1967)
*Johnny Raper (1967-1968)
*John Sattler (1969-1970)
*Graeme Langlands (1970-1975)
*Phil Hawthorne (1970)
*Ron Coote (1970)
*Billy Smith (1970)
*Bob McCarthy (1973)
*Tommy Raudonikis (1973)
*Arthur Beetson (1973-1977)
*John Brass (1975)
*Greg Veivers (1977)
*Greg Pierce (1978)
*Bob Fulton (1978)
*George Peponis (1979-1980)
* Steve Rogers (1981)
*Max Krilich (1982-1983)
*Wally Lewis (1984-1989)
*Mal Meninga (1990-1994)
*Laurie Daley (1993-1998)
*Brad Fittler (1995-2001)
*Paul Harragon (1995)
*Geoff Toovey (1996)
*Allan Langer (1998)
*Gorden Tallis (2000-2002)
*Andrew Johns (2002-2003)
*Darren Lockyer (2003-)
*Danny Buderus (2004-2005)
*Craig Gower (2005)
*Cameron Smith (2007-)

ee also

*List of results of the Australian national rugby league team
*List of Australian Kangaroos players


*Fagan, Sean (2005) "The Rugby Rebellion", RL1908, Sydney
*Whiticker, Alan (2004) "Captaining the Kangaroos", New Holland, Sydney

External links

* [ Official Australian Rugby League site] - The Australian Rugby League
* [ The Story of the Kangaroo War Cry] -
* [ Australia's Green and Gold Colours] -
* [ The Roo Crew Supporters Group]
* [ Google-Video]
* [ 2008 Rugby League World Cup Site]
* [ Australia Rugby League Fans Forums -]

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