Australia national rugby league team
|Governing body||Australian Rugby League Commission|
|Head coach||Mal Meninga|
|Most caps||Darren Lockyer (59)|
|Top try-scorer||Darren Lockyer (35)|
|Top point-scorer||Johnathan Thurston (372)|
New Zealand 11–10 Australia |
(Agricultural Oval, Sydney, Australia; 9 May 1908)
Russia 4–110 Australia |
(The Boulevard, Hull, England; 4 November 2000)
New Zealand 24–0 Australia |
(Elland Road, Leeds, England; 26 November 2005)
|Appearances||14 (first time in 1954)|
|Best result||Winners, 1957; 1968; 1970; 1975; 1977; 1988; 1992; 1995; 2000; 2013|
The Australian national rugby league team (or the Kangaroos) have represented Australia in senior men's rugby league football competition since the establishment of the 'Northern Union game' in Australia in 1908. Administered by the Australian Rugby League, the Kangaroos are ranked second in the RLIF World Rankings. The team are the most successful in Rugby League World Cup history, having contested all 14 and winning 10 of them, failing to reach the final only once, in the inaugural tournament in 1954. Only four nations have beaten Australia in test matches, and Australia have an overall win percentage of 67%.
Dating back to 1908, Australia are the fourth oldest national side after England, New Zealand and Wales. The team was first assembled in 1908 for a tour of Great Britain. The majority of the Kangaroos' games since then have been played against Great Britain and New Zealand. 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.
Since 7 July 1994 the team's official nickname has been the Kangaroos, though they had unofficially been referred to as such since 1908. 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. While in the past players for the side had been selected from clubs in various leagues around the country, in recent years the side has consisted exclusively of players from clubs of the National Rugby League.
|Official Rankings as of November 2016|
|15||Papua New Guinea|
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.
By 1907, Sydney club rugby games were attracting up to 20,000 people, with all profits going to the Southern Rugby Football Union, as the sport at the time was officially an amateur one. This caused discontent among players, and in 1908 the New South Wales Rugby Football League and Queensland Rugby League were formed.
An Australian national rugby league team was first formed during the first season of rugby league in Australia, the 1908 NSWRFL Premiership season. The team, which was made of players from the NSWRFL with a few Queensland rugby rebels added, first played against the "professional All Blacks" on the return leg of their tour of Australia and Great Britain.
Later that year the Australian team arranged to go on a tour of its own. The first Kangaroos arrived in England on 27 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.
In 1909, when the new "Northern Union" code was still in its infancy in Australia, a match between the Kangaroos and the Wallabies was played before a crowd of around 20,000, with the Rugby League side winning 29–26.
The first British tour of the Southern Hemisphere began on 4 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 30 July, they defeated New Zealand 52–20. The 1910 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand was the first ever, and Australia were beaten for the Ashes in two tests, faring slightly better as "Australasia" with two Kiwis added to their squad. The 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was undertaken by an 'Australasian' squad which included four New Zealanders. They won the Ashes for the first time and for the next half a century no other touring team would do so on British soil.
The 1914 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand was the second time the British toured down under. The Australians, captained by Sid Deane for all three tests, got one victory but lost the series in the famous decider, the "Rorke's Drift Test". Australia also went on a tour of New Zealand in 1919.
The 1920 Great Britain Lions tour saw Australia win the Ashes for the first time on home soil. The 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain also included a New Zealander and was ostensibly an Australasian side. 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 23 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.
The 1929–30 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was the fourth Kangaroo tour, and took the Australian team all around England and also into Wales. The tour also featured the ninth Ashes series which comprised four Test matches and was won by Great Britain.
The first test of the 1932 Ashes series between Australia and Great Britain drew a world record international rugby league attendance of 70,204 to the Sydney Cricket Ground. This attendance would stand as the world record until the 1992 World Cup Final played at Wembley Stadium, and as of 2013 remains the record attendance for a rugby league test played in Australia. The Jim Sullivan led Lions triumphed over the Herb Steinohrt led Australians 8–6.
On the 1933–34 tour New South Wales winger Dave Brown played in 32 matches, including all 3 Tests, scoring 285 points, at the time the greatest number ever attained by an Australian player on tour.
Albert Johnston was a national selector in 1946 and coach of the national side for the 1946 first post-WWII Anglo-Australian series. Australia's 1948-49 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France was their seventh tour to the UK. They played the Ashes series against a side officially called Great Britain.
During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand, Australia lost the three-Test series to the powerful French team inspired by their freakish goal kicking fullback Puig Aubert.
The 1954 Rugby League World Cup was the first such tournament held in either rugby code. Australia failed to reach the final.
Australia hosted and won the 1957 World Cup.
For the 1959–60 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain, the home nation retained the Ashes by winning the Test series 2–1 by the following results.
- First Test – Great Britain 14–22 Australia at Station Road, Swinton.
- Second Test – Great Britain 11–10 Australia at Headingley, Leeds.
- Third Test – Great Britain 18–12 Australia at Central Park, Wigan.
This was the last British Ashes win on home soil.
Harry Bath was selected manager, coach and as the sole selector for the Australian national team's 1962 Ashes series.
After ten previous tours of Britain, the 1963–64 Kangaroo tour saw Australia's first ever Ashes victory on British soil. The Arthur Summons coached Kangaroos won the first test at Wembley Stadium before rampaging to a famous 50–12 win in the second test at Station Road in Swinton. Although they would lose the third test at Headingley, legendary winger Ken Irvine became the first Australian player to score a try in each test of an Ashes series. The Kangaroos have not lost a series in Britain since.
Harry Bath coached the national side to World Cup glory in the 1968 World Cup. He also coached the team on a tour of New Zealand in 1969.
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. The 1970 Lions contained a galaxy of stars including captain Frank Myler, Roger Millward, Cliff Watson and Mal Reilly. Future Kangaroo Tour captain and later coach Bob Fulton made his test debut in the 1970 Ashes series (Fulton had actually played 3 games for Australia in the 1968 World Cup but at the time tests and World Cup games were classed differently). Harry Bath again coached Australia to victory in the 1970 World Cup Final in a brutal game that would become known as the "Battle of Headingley". Bath also coached the team on a tour of New Zealand in 1971. On that tour Geoff Starling became the youngest player to ever represent Australia. He was 18 years and 181 days old when playing a tour match against a New Zealand XIII at Huntly.
Australia lost the 1972 World Cup to Great Britain in controversial circumstances. Australian captain Graeme Langlands was denied what seemed a fair try by being ruled offside by the French referee after catching a kick put up by halfback Dennis Ward. Film of the try showed Langlands was approximately a metre behind Ward when he kicked the ball. The French referee Georges Jameau's alleged reason for not awarding the try was that he did not believe anyone could have scored from an onside position. The World Cup final was tied at 10–10 after full-time and was still locked after extra time. Great Britain were awarded the victory due to a higher points table placing after the pool rounds of the competition.
On the 1978 Kangaroo tour, Great Britain defeated Australia in the second test at Bradford, 18–14, before a crowd of 26,447. It took ten years, and fifteen consecutive test defeats before Britain were able to defeat the Kangaroos again, starting with Australia's 3–0 whitewash of the Lions during their 1979 Australasian tour. However, the Australians were surprisingly defeated by the French team in both tests played at the end of the 1978 tour. This was the last defeat of the Kangaroos in a series until 2005.
The 1980s was the decade in which Australia began to truly dominate world rugby league. Along with the emergence of State of Origin football came a new crop of superstar players who would lead Australia throughout the 1980s. Players such as Peter Sterling, Mal Meninga, Wayne Pearce, Brett Kenny, Eric Grothe and Wally Lewis came to prominence on the 1982 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France. Australia's performance was taken into a new dimension by the tourists, also known as 'the Invincibles', when they became the first team to win every game of the tour (fifteen games) including the first test by 40–4 at Hull in front of 26,771 spectators. After the extremely poor showing during their 1979 Australasian tour, the Kangaroos rammed home just how far behind British football had fallen at Boothferry Park. The score was only 10–4 at half time, but after the break Australia's superior fitness showed and they ran in six unanswered tries to leave the crowd and British football stunned.
In 1983, Arthur Beetson became the first Aboriginal to coach the Australian team after Frank Stanton had stood down following the Kangaroo Tour. Although Australia won the first test against New Zealand at Carlaw Park in Auckland, the Kiwis shocked by winning the return match 19–12 at Lang Park.
When the Lions toured in 1984, The Kangaroos again swept The Ashes series 3–0 under new team captain Wally Lewis, the first Queenslander to captain Australia since Arthur Beetson in 1974. Beetson was replaced as coach in 1984 by a returning Frank Stanton.
In 1985, Australia made a six-match tour of New Zealand under the coaching of Terry Fearnley who prior to the tour had coached NSW to its first ever Origin series win over Qld (the tour actually took place between games 2 and 3 of the Origin series). 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. The tour ended in acrimony as tensions between coach Fearley and the Qld players, led by team captain Wally Lewis, reached boiling point with Lewis publicly stating that he had caught Fearnley and team vice-captain Wayne Pearce going over team selections in Fearnley's hotel room, though both Fearnley and Pearce denied the allegations. After the second test win Fearnley made 4 changes to the test team for the third and final test at Carlaw Park with all four players who were omitted being Queenslanders. The changes proved disastrous and NZ ran out easy 18–0 winners.
Following the tour, the Australian Rugby League decided that from then on the Kangaroos coach could not also double as the coach of either NSW or Qld in the same year.
Former Kangaroo Don Furner became Australian coach in 1986 and immediately formed a good working relationship with Wally Lewis and the players. The now harmonious Australians swept New Zealand 3–0 in a mid-season test series played in Australia.
During the 1986 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France a then record northern hemisphere crowd of 50,383 attended the first test of the Ashes series at Old Trafford with the Walle Lewis led Australians winning 38–16. On 16 December 1986 the Kangaroos set a new record for largest-ever winning margin in a Test match at 52–0 against France. In their two Tests against France, the Australians ran in 96 points and conceded just a single penalty goal. After suffering such heavy losses, France decided to call off their proposed 1987 tour of Australia. This became the second consecutive tour of Europe in which Australia had won all their games. By the end of the tour, Terry Lamb had become the first player to appear in every match on a Kangaroo Tour. For this tour Wally Lewis, Greg Dowling, Bob Lindner, Gene Miles (Wynnum Manly) and Bryan Neibling (Redcliffe) became the last players selected to tour from the Brisbane Rugby League competition. By being named as tour captain, Wally Lewis became the first Queenslander to captain a Kangaroo Tour since Tom Gorman in 1929/30.
Australia crashed to a defeat on Tuesday 21 July 1987, when the Kangaroo dominance of the international game suffered a setback. New Zealand were their opponents in a match at Lang Park 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.
During the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour the Ashes were successfully retained by Australia by winning the first two Tests, however Great Britain won the third test 26–12 at the Sydney Football Stadium, ending a winning streak between the two teams that stretched back to 1978. Later that month, Australia's 62-point win over Papua New Guinea set a new record for largest winning margin in international rugby league. Australian dual international winger Michael O'Connor also set a new record for most points scored by an individual in international rugby league (30 points – 4 tries, 7 goals). The 1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup culminated in the final against New Zealand at Auckland's Eden Park ground (the home of NZ rugby union). Australia won a brutal World Cup Final 25–12 in front of 47,363.
In 1989 the Kangaroos toured New Zealand, taking a record-breaking twelve Queenslanders in the squad. Don Furner had retired from coaching after the 1988 World Cup Final with Manly Warringah premiership winning coach and 1978 Kangaroo tour captain Bob Fulton taking over from 1989. Fulton's first series in charge of the Australian team saw them sweep New Zealand 3–0 during their 1989 tour.
With Wally Lewis controversially ruled unfit for the 1990 Kangaroo tour, his Queensland team mate Mal Meninga took over the Australian captaincy. The Ashes got off to a bad start for the Kangaroos when Great Britain shocked Australia to win the first test 19–12 at Wembley Stadium in front of a new record home crowd of 54,567. The second test at Old Trafford in Manchester was a tight affair that saw two of the most famous tries scored in test match football. Debutante 5/8 Cliff Lyons second half try came after the Kangaroos kept the ball alive through 13 sets of hands before winger Andrew Ettingshausen centre kicked for Lyons to score. With the scores tied at 10-all going into injury time and the Kangaroos pinned just 15 metres from their line, Ricky Stuart set off on an 75-metre run before passing to Meninga for the winning try only seconds from full-time to give Australia a 14–10 win. The Kangaroos then wrapped up The Ashes with a comprehensive 14–0 win in the third test at Elland Road in Leeds. Meninga as captain became just the third Australian (after Ken Irvine in 1963–64 and Sam Backo in 1988) to score a try in each test of an Ashes series.
Australia faced New Zealand in a three-game mid-season Test series in 1991. The first test, played at the Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne (the first rugby league test played in Australia outside of NSW or Qld) saw the Kiwis again defeat Australia after a successful Kangaroo tour. NZ won the first test 24–8 in Melbourne in front of 26,900 fans, however a new look Australian side came back to win the second test 44–0 in Sydney and the third test 40–12 in Brisbane.
During the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australasia the British lost the first 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 Rugby League World Cup final at Wembley Stadium set a then international attendance record for a rugby league international of 73,631. The Bob Fulton coached, Mal Meninga captained Australians defeat Great Britain 10–6 to win their 7th Rugby League World Cup title.
Australia again played a mid-season test series against New Zealand in 1993. The first test at the Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland ended in a 14-all draw thanks to a late Laurie Daley field goal. Daley had captained Australia for the first time in the match following a two-game suspension to Mal Meninga. The Kangaroos then won the second test 16–8 at the Palmerston North Showgrounds before wrapping up the series with a 16–4 win at Lang Park in Brisbane.
On 4 July 1994, Australia defeated France 58–0 at the Parramatta Stadium in Sydney. The 1994 Kangaroo Tour was the last time the Australian national team played matches against British provincial teams, in addition 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 at Wembley), and remained undefeated against British club outfits in a streak stretching back to 1978. Australia adopted the name 'Kangaroos' for the July test against France, since then the team has been officially known by this name.
The Australian team that contested and won the 1995 Rugby League World Cup consisted only of players from clubs that remained loyal to the Australian Rugby League during the Super League war. This meant several players from Super League-aligned clubs that were already well-established internationals were not selected for the World Cup squad. During 1995, the Kangaroos defeated New Zealand 3–0 in the Trans-Tasman Test series played in Australia. As they would be for the World Cup, only ARL loyal players were selected for Australia which saw a number of players, including Steve Menzies, Mark Coyne, Terry Hill, Gary Larson, Trevor Gillmeister and Jason Smith make their test debuts.
In 1997 also, due to the Super League war, Australian rugby league was split down the middle by two competitions: the ARL's Optus Cup and Super League's Telstra Cup. As a result, that season there were also two Australian sides:
Australian Rugby League
Australia v Rest of the World – 11 July 1997
Fullback: Tim Brasher
Australia v Great Britain – 16 November 1997
Fullback: Darren Lockyer
Great Britain played a home three-Test series against the Australian Super League Test team in 1997 and lost 2–1. The three matches played have been given test status by the UK's Rugby Football League. The Australian Rugby League has decided not to recognise the matches of its rival as tests since the Super League war ended and does not consider the series to be a genuine Ashes contest. Super League's Anzac Test concept, which is an early season one-off test match against New Zealand was retained and has been played annual ever since.
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.
The new millennium started with the 2000 World Cup which Australia won.
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, Australia handed Great Britain their worst ever test defeat by defeating them 64–10 in a Sydney test match.
In November 2003, Great Britain lost an Ashes series 0–3 on home soil. The margin was extremely small in each game, 22–18 in game 1, 23–20 in game 2 and 18–12 in game 3 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 Test series since December 1978, when they were defeated by France in both Test matches. On 4 November 2006, Australia lost to Great Britain 23–12 . 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 two wins against New Zealand earlier in the tournament 30–18 and 20–15. The Australian side reclaimed the title of Tri-Nations champions on 25 November with a victory over the New Zealand side in the final by 16–12 with a try in the second period of extra time by captain Darren Lockyer.
Australia hosted the 2008 World Cup and did not have to qualify. They did not lose a match until the final, which they lost to New Zealand, who became world champions for the first time. Following this loss, Ricky Stuart was replaced as coach by Tim Sheens, then the most experienced NRL coach.
Tim Sheens' first match as Australian coach was against New Zealand in 2009 Anzac Test. In this match Sheen's side included a record-equalling ten Queensland representatives, including an all maroon backline and front row, reflecting the state's dominance in the annual State of Origin series. All of the points were also scored by Queenslanders in the 38–10 victory. Later that year Australia traveled up to play in the inaugural Four Nations tournament. The Kangaroos advanced to the final after a draw against New Zealand, and wins over co-hosts England and France. Australia took on the English in the final and despite at one point trailing 14–16, a dominant last quarter of the game saw Australia win the inaugural Four Nations tournament. Captain Darren Lockyer also reached a milestone in this match after becoming the first Australian to make 50 appearances for his country.
Australia began 2010 with a 4-point win in the Anzac Test that symbolised the opening of the new stadium in Melbourne: AAMI Park. At the conclusion of the 2010 domestic season the majour international tournament was the 2010 Four Nations held in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia's opening match against Papua New Guinea, captain Darren Lockyer surpassed Ken Irvine's record for most test tries for Australia, scoring his 34th. Australia won all of their matches comfortably to advance to the final to have a 2008 World Cup final re-match against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium. The Kiwis won the game, and 2010 Four Nations title, after a try in the final seconds of the match.
Australia gained revenge over the Kiwis after another Anzac Test win, retaining the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy in the process with a 10-point win on the Gold Coast. Later in that year Australia played a test-match against New Zealand, 12 days before the 2011 Four Nations kicked off, at the newly reconstructed Ausgrid Stadium in Newcastle. Australia thrashed the Kiwis by 36 points in front of a record crowd. In the match Darren Lockyer became the most capped International player of all-time after surpassing New Zealand international Ruben Wiki's record of 55 appearances for his country. Australia took on New Zealand again in the opening game of the Four Nations, held in England and Wales. The Australians yet again beat their trans-tasman rivals. They then went on to beat England at Wembley and were surprised in their final round-robin fixture after Wales were leading 8–0 after 13 minutes and were behind Australia by only 10 points at the break. But Sheens' men went on to thrash the Welsh to easily advance to another final meeting with England. After being tied with the English at one point in the second half, Australia went on to win the game by 22 points.
In 2012, the Anzac Test was held in New Zealand for the first time since 1998, which was the Kiwis last win in the fixture. Home advantage made no difference for the Kiwis as Sheens' Kangaroos won the match by eight points. The Kangaroos took on the Kiwis one more time later in the year, this time in Townsville. In front of a sold-out crowd, the Kangaroos won the test-match with another eight point victory. There was no tournament this year due to the fact that there was a World Cup next year for the teams to prepare for.
Australia began the 2013 International season by retaining the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy after another Anzac Test win. At the end of the year, Australia traveled up to play in the 2013 World Cup co-hosted by England and Wales. In their opening game against England, the Kangaroos were surprisingly facing a 0–10 scoreline after twenty minutes. But Australia went on to regain the control and go on to win the match by eight points. The England match was Australia's only 'scare' in the tournament as the Kangaroos went on to win and dominate all of their remaining matches, recording a 244–4 total aggregate score. They went on to earn revenge for their defeat to New Zealand five years ago in the World Cup final to beat them this time around at the same stage. The final was watched in front of a record International rugby league attendance of 74,468 and in the match, five-eighth, Johnathan Thurston broke Mick Cronin's 31-year record of top point scorer after a conversion took him past the previous record of 309 points. This was the Kangaroos' tenth World Cup title. After the England game, Australia recorded five successive games without conceding a try in the tournament. This feat was one game off equaling the 1981–82 Australian team's record.
Australia weren't able to equal that feat despite another Anzac Test win in 2014. Later that year, Australia co-hosted the 2014 Four Nations with New Zealand. They took on the Kiwis in the second of the double-header clashes at Suncorp Stadium. However Australia's record against the Kiwis at the venue continued to be a negative one after another defeat made it three defeats in the past four meetings at the 'Cauldron'. This meant Australia were facing England in a must win game at AAMI Park in Melbourne. With many regulars missing, Sheens had to make decisions like naming an 18-year old in the team, who'd become the youngest player to play for Australia. Sione Mata'utia, aged 18 years and 129 days, eclipsed the previous record held by Israel Folau, since 2007, by 65 days when he played on debut for Australia against the 'Poms'. The match was headlined with controversy. In the last minute of the game, England put a grubber kick in the in-goal area, since they were desperate for a try as they were trailing by just four points. Australian fullback Greg Inglis had to force the ball dead due to incoming England attack but the video referees wanted to have another look and see whether or not it was Inglis or the incoming English winger Ryan Hall got the last touch on the ball. On the slow-motion replays it showed that Ryan Hall's right hand's little finger had put some downward pressure on the ball however in normal speed it was deemed 'inconclusive' by Australian officiating rules and therefore a NO TRY was given to the frustration of the English players and supporters but respect from Sheens and his Australian players. Had the try been awarded and England converted, it would have been Australia's first defeat to England since 1995, the first time they suffered back-to-back home defeats since 1970 and the first time they failed to qualify for a tournament final since 1954. In their final round-robin fixture they dominated proceedings against the Samoans, who had been causing trouble for England and New Zealand in the tournament, to advance to the final which was held in New Zealand. However they couldn't get revenge for their defeat earlier in the tournament as Australia lost 18–22.
The 2015 Anzac Test was held in Suncorp Stadium. Controversy occurred before the match as kickoff had to be postponed to two days later after the surface was deemed 'unplayable' due to floods. The Australian team's horrible record in Brisbane against the Kiwis continued as they suffered another defeat and records continued to be made for the New Zealand team. This was the first time they beat Australia for three consecutive test-matches since 1953 and the first time they won the Anzac Test since 1998. Australia did not play another test-match that year. After the match Sheens was facing scrutiny from the media after many believed it was time for the old players he fielded to move on since the much younger Kiwis side had beaten them on the past three occasions. Australia also dropped down to number 2 on the RLIF World Rankings, for the first time since the World Rankings System began, which added further scrutiny. At the end of the year, Sheens was unable to cope with the pressure of the media despite wanting to coach the team at the 2017 World Cup. He took up an advisory role with English domestic club Salford Red Devils and therefore resigned as coach of the Australian national team.
In December 2015, successful Queensland Maroons coach Mal Meninga announced he'd leave his role as the coach of the Queensland representative side to coach the Australian national team. Before his appointment Mal announced his ambitions that he wanted the International game to become the pinnacle of rugby league like it was in his playing days. Mal Meninga's first game in charge as Australian coach was the 2016 Anzac Test. Prior to the test, Meninga stirred controversy around the rugby league world after selecting Fijian born player Semi Radradra, who is eligible due to living in Australia for three years, in his team over other 'homegrown' Australian players. Radradra, who represented Fiji at the 2013 World Cup, still had a Fijian passport at that time and this brought up the question of changing eligibility rules in International rugby league. Meninga's selection questioned the ambition he raised of wanting to make the International game the pinnacle of the sport. Australia won the test-match 16–0 and in the process ended their losing-run against the Kiwis. They also held New Zealand scoreless in a test-match for the first time since 2007. But despite the result Australia suffered criticism with commentator Phil Gould saying the Australian team is 'too old' and are 'kidding themselves if they think they'll win the World Cup next year'. He believes Australia should've put much more points on a 'weakened' New Zealand team missing many regular players through various reasons. Meninga hit back saying 'That was a real test-match. That's what test footy is. People who have never played it don't know what it is.'
Below is table of the official representative rugby league matches played by Australia at test level up until 13 November 2016:
|Papua New Guinea||11||11||–||–||100.00%||580||68||+512|
|Rest of the World||1||1||–||–||100.00%||28||8||+20|
Results and fixtures
- Below are the previous 5 matches of the national team. For all past match results, see the team's results page.
13 November 2016
5 November 2016
28 October 2016
15 October 2016
6 May 2016
A red box around the year indicates tournaments played within Australia
|World Cup record|
|France 1954||Third Place||3/4||3||1||2||0|
|United Kingdom 1960||Second Place||2/4||3||2||1||0|
|Australia/New Zealand 1968||Champions||1/4||4||4||0||0|
|United Kingdom 1970||Champions||1/4||4||2||2||0|
|France 1972||Second Place||2/4||4||2||2||0|
|World Series 1975||Champions||1/5||9||7||1||1|
|Australia/New Zealand 1977||Champions||1/4||4||4||0||0|
|Australia/France/New Zealand/Papua New Guinea/United Kingdom |
|Australia/France/New Zealand/Papua New Guinea/United Kingdom |
|United Kingdom 1995||Champions||1/10||5||4||1||0|
|France/United Kingdom 2000||Champions||1/16||6||6||0||0|
|Australia 2008||Second Place||2/10||5||4||1||0|
|Australia/New Zealand 2017||Hosts|
|Tri-Nations/Four Nations record|
|Australia/New Zealand 1999||Champions||1/3||3||2||1||0|
|United Kingdom 2004||Champions||1/3||5||3||1||1|
|United Kingdom 2005||Second Place||2/3||5||4||1||0|
|Australia/New Zealand 2006||Champions||1/3||5||4||1||0|
|Tournament Changed to Four Nations|
|Australia/New Zealand 2010||Second Place||2/4||4||3||1||0|
|Australia/New Zealand 2014||Second Place||2/4||4||2||2||0|
For their first twenty odd years of international competition, the Kangaroos' 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.
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 25 July 2003 Test against New Zealand. In 1929 the current design, which is green with two gold chevrons, was adopted and first used.
The original blue and maroon broken striped design was revived in 1963 when Australia hosted a touring South African rugby league team who wore green and gold, and again in the Centenary Test at the SCG on 9 May 2008. It was again used in the 2014 Four Nations against England on 2 November 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the "Rorke's Drift Test".
Indigenous contribution to the Kangaroos
The indigenous contribution to the Kangaroos is unmatched in Australian national sporting teams.
By way of example, Lionel Morgan was the first indigenous player in any Australian national sporting team in 1960, while Arthur Beetson was the first indigenous captain of any Australian national sporting team in 1973.
Remarkably given the 2% indigenous rate of population in Australia, the Kangaroos fielded a run-on team against New Zealand in the 2015 Anzac Test with 7 of the 13 players having indigenous heritage (a staggering 54%). This contrasts markedly to nearly every other Australian national sporting team as at 2015.
From 1908 to 1967, the Australian team performed a war cry before Tests played in Great Britain and France. The war cry was first performed when the Kangaroos arrived at Tilbury Docks near London. It was developed after war cries had been performed on tours of Britain 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 performed for the first time in over 40 years before the Rugby League World Cup exhibition game between the Indigenous Dreamtime Team vs. the New Zealand Maōris in 2008. The war cry had not been performed by the Kangaroos since December 1967 in France.
Each year a Kangaroos reunion function is held at the SCG Members Pavilion on the Saturday before the Grand Final. Former players from all eras travel from around the country to attend the renowned event.
The main supporter group of the Australian national team is The Roo Crew.
The Australia national team squad for the end of year test match against New Zealand and the 2016 Four Nations. (caps and points apply for after the test match finished, and after their final Four Nations tournament Round-Robin match finished)
- On October 13, Josh Papalii had to withdraw from the squad due to an ankle injury. He was replaced by Jake Trbojevic.
Team of the Century (1908–2008)
As Australian rugby league celebrated its first centenary in 2008, an Australian team of the century was named which comprises one player for each of the thirteen positions plus four interchange players: Winger Brian Bevan is the only player in the team who never represented Australia in a test match, while coach Jack Gibson never coached the Australian test team.
The current coach of the Australian team is former team captain and four time Kangaroo Tourist Mal Meninga, who was appointed coach in late 2015 after the resignation of Tim Sheens who coached the team from 2009–2015.
Bob Fulton has coached the most matches with 40 starting in 1989 and finishing in 1998. Jack Gibson, despite never having coached at international level, was named coach of the Australian rugby league team of the century (1908–2008).
- Albert Johnston 1946
- Col Maxwell 1948–1949
- Len Smith 1949
- Keith Froome 1949
- Vic Hey 1950–1951, 1954–1955
- Clive Churchill 1952–1953, 1959–60, 1963
- Ken Kearney 1956–1957
- Herbert Poole 1957
- Norm Robinson 1958
- Keith Barnes 1960
- Brian Carlson 1961
- Harry Bath 1962, 1968–1972
- Arthur Summons 1963–1964, 1970
- Reg Gasnier 1964, 1967–1968
- Ian Walsh 1965–1966
- Graeme Langlands 1973–1975
- Terry Fearnley 1977, 1985
- Frank Stanton 1978–1982, 1984
- Arthur Beetson 1983
- Don Furner 1986–1988
- Bob Fulton 1989–1998
- John Lang 1997 (Super League)
- Wayne Bennett 1998, 2004–2005
- Chris Anderson 1999–2003
- Ricky Stuart 2006–2008
- Tim Sheens 2009–2015
- Mal Meninga 2016–
Largest winning margins (>50)
- 106 points vs Russia (110–4) at The Boulevard, Hull on 4 November 2000
- 82 points vs Papua New Guinea (82–0) at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville on 7 October 2000
- 80 points South Africa (86–6) at Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead on 10 October 1995
- 74 points France (74–0) at Stade de la Méditerranée, Béziers on 4 December 1994
- 66 points Fiji (66–0) at McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on 14 October 1995
- 64 points Fiji (64–0) at Wembley Stadium, London on 23 November 2013
- 62 points United States (62–0) at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham on 16 November 2013
- 62 points vs Papua New Guinea (70–8) at Eric Weissel Oval, Wagga Wagga on 20 July 1988
- 60 points vs National Rugby League of Fiji (84–14) at Marathon Stadium, Newcastle on 12 July 1996
- 58 points vs France (58–0) at Parramatta Stadium, Parramatta on 6 July 1994
- 58 points vs Fiji (66–8) at Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead on 1 November 2000
- 58 points vs New Zealand (58–0) at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on 13 October 2007
- 56 points vs France (60–4) at Parc des Sports, Avignon on 2 December 1990
- 56 points vs Papua New Guinea (58–2) at Danny Leahy Oval, Goroka on 6 October 1991
- 56 points vs Samoa (66–10) at Vicarage Road, Watford on 11 November 2000
- 54 points vs Great Britain (64–10) at Aussie Stadium, Sydney on 12 July 2002
- 52 points vs France (52–0) at Stade d'Albert Domec, Carcassonne on 13 December 1986
- 52 points vs New Zealand (52–0) at Stadium Australia, Sydney on 21 April 2000
- 52 points vs Fiji (52–0) at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney on 16 November 2008
- Bold- denotes that the player is still active.
- 59 – Darren Lockyer (1998–2011)
- 49 – Cameron Smith (2006–2016)
- 46 – Mal Meninga (1982–1994)
- 45 – Graeme Langlands (1963–1975)
- 45 – Petero Civoniceva (2001–2011)
- 40 – Brad Fittler (1990–2001)
- 39 – Reg Gasnier (1959–1967)
- 39 – Johnny Raper (1959–1968)
- 39 – Greg Inglis (2006–2016)
- 38 – Johnathan Thurston (2006–2009, 2011–2016)
- 37 – Clive Churchill (1948–1956)
- 35 – Bob Fulton (1968–1978)
- 34 – Wally Lewis (1981–1991)
- 33 – Mick Cronin (1973–1982)
- 33 – Sam Thaiday (2006, 2009–2016)
- 32 – Paul Gallen (2008–2014, 2016)
- 29 – Arthur Beetson (1966–1977)
- 35 – Darren Lockyer (1998–2011)
- 33 – Ken Irvine (1959–1968)
- 31 – Greg Inglis (2006–2016)
- 28 – Reg Gasnier (1959–1967)
- 25 – Bob Fulton (1968–1978)
- 23 – Brett Morris (2009–2014)
- 22 – Billy Slater (2008–2014)
- 21 – Mal Meninga (1982–1994)
- 160 – Johnathan Thurston (2006–2009, 2011–2016)
- 141 – Mick Cronin (1973–1982)
- 99 – Mal Meninga (1982–1994)
- 89 – Andrew Johns (1995–2006)
- 73 – Graeme Langlands (1963–1975)
- 372 – Johnathan Thurston. 13 tries, 160 goals (2006–2009, 2011–2016)
- 309 – Mick Cronin. 9 tries, 141 goals (1973–1982)
- 278 – Mal Meninga. 21 tries, 99 goals (1982–1994)
- 226 – Andrew Johns. 12 tries, 89 goals (1995–2006)
- 206 – Graeme Langlands. 20 tries, 73 goals (1963–1975)
- 204 – Darren Lockyer. 35 tries, 31 goals, 2 field goals (1998–2011)
Most games as Captain
- 38 – Darren Lockyer (2003–2011)
- 27 – Clive Churchill (1950–1956)
- 26 – Cameron Smith (2012–2016)
- 25 – Brad Fittler (1995–2001)
- 24 – Wally Lewis (1982–1991)
- 24 – Mal Meninga (1990–1994)
Most tries in a match
- 4 – John Ribot (1982)
- 4 – Dale Shearer (1986)
- 4 – Mat Rogers (2000)
- 4 – Wendell Sailor (2000)
- 4 – Gorden Tallis (2000)
- 4 – Jarryd Hayne (2013)
- 4 – Brett Morris (2013)
Most points in a match
- Sione Mata'utia (18 years and 129 days) vs England on Sunday, 2 November 2014
- Israel Folau (18 years and 194 days) vs New Zealand on Sunday, 14 October 2007
- Charles 'Chook' Fraser 18 years and 301 days vs England on 8 November 1911
- Kerry Boustead (18 years and 316 days) vs New Zealand on 24 June 1978
- Dugald McGregor (19 years and 5 days) vs New Zealand on 26 June 1909
- Keith Middleton (19 years and 138 days) vs Great Britain on 12 June 1950
- Other matches
- Geoff Starling: 18 years and 181 days against a New Zealand XIII at Huntly in 1971
- Brad Fittler: 18 years and 247 days against Wakefield Trinity on 10 October 1990
vs New Zealand
vs Great Britain
- 67,748 – First Test – Sydney Cricket Ground, 11 June 1955.
vs Papua New Guinea
- 21,000 – One off Test – Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7 October 2000.
vs South Africa
- 16,995 – Second Test – Sydney Cricket Ground, 27 July 1963.
vs United States
- 1978–1982 – Seven Network
- 1983–1989 – Nine Network
- 1986 – Network Ten (Kangaroo tour)
- 1990 – Network Ten
- 1991–1993 – Seven Network
- 1994–present – Nine Network
- 1997 – Fox Sports (Super League)
- 2013 and 2017 – Seven Network (7mate) (2013 and 2017 World Cup)
Some of the television commentators who have called Kangaroos games include Rex Mossop (Seven / Ten), Arthur Summons, Darrell Eastlake, Ian Maurice, Jack Gibson, Ray Warren, Peter Sterling, Paul Vautin, Phil Gould (Nine), Wally Lewis (Ten / Seven / Fox / Nine), Graeme Hughes (Ten / Seven), David Morrow (Ten) and Andrew Voss (Nine / Seven).
- Australian Aboriginal rugby league team
- List of results of the Australian national rugby league team
- Australian Rugby League and National Rugby League. "Rugby league" (PDF). Australian Human Rights Commission Report. hreoc.gov.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "Kangaroos v. Wallabies". West Coast Times. New Zealand. 6 September 1909. p. 4. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
- Whiticker, Alan. "Sid Deane". rugbyleagueproject.org. Shawn Dollin, Andrew Ferguson and Bill Bates. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Player Profile – Wally Messenger". yesterdayshero.com.au. SmartPack International. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Dave Brown Retires". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. 14 April 1941. p. 4. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
- Lyle, Beaton (7 April 2009). "75 Years of French Rugby League". rleague.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- sahof.org.au. "Kangaroos Team (Rugby League) – 1963". Team Sport Australia Award. Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- Ritchie, Dean (5 October 2007). "Folau the youngest Roo". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
- 1972 World Cup Final highlights
- "Unbeaten Kangaroos the 'Best Ever'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Digital. 15 December 1986. p. 39. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- 1987 Australia vs New Zealand at Rugby League Project
- "O'Connor helps set Test records". The Age. 21 July 1988. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- 1988 World Cup Final at Rugby League Project
- John MacDonald and Ian Arnold (29 June 1989). "Kangaroos fly the Maroon flag". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. p. 50. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- 1990 Great Britain vs Australia – Mal Meninga 2nd Test try
- 1991 Australia vs New Zealand at Rugby League Project
- 1992 World Cup Final at Rugby League Project
- 1994 Australia vs France at Rugby League Project
- Carwley, Paul (19 April 1998). "In defence of Alf". The Sun-Herald. Fairfax Digital. p. 101. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
- Fagan, Sean (18 May 2010). "Australian Rugby League – Results". rl1908.com. Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- Richie, Dean; Malone, Paul; Ricketts, Steve (22 April 2010). "Super League Tests should be added to Darren Lockyer's record, says Ruben Wiki". The Courier-Mail. Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "Chris Anderson". UK: BBC Sport 2001 Ashes squad guide. 2001. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
- Jessup, Peter (18 October 2003). "Rugby League: Kiwi 100 equals Aussie 87". nzherald.co.nz. New Zealand: APN Holdings NZ Limited. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Richards, Huw (27 November 2005). "New Zealand dismantles Australia's dynasty, 24–0". The New York Times. USA: The New York Times Company. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
- "Sydney Football Stadium Magic Moments". sydneycricketground.com.au. Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- Love, Colin (2007). "Australian Rugby Football League Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Australian Rugby League Limited. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
- Steve Jancetic and Wayne Heming (2 July 2010). "Renouf calls for all-Qld Test side". WWOS. Australia: ninemsn. AAP. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "England 16 Australia 46: match report". The Telegraph. 14 November 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Darren Lockyer denies revival to end Australia career as a champion". theguardian. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "VIDEO: All tries (34–2) Kangaroos V Kiwis, Rugby League World Cup final 2013, Old Trafford". Newshub. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Kangaroos crowned World Cup champions after handing Kiwis a masterclass". ABC NEWS. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Four Nations: England denied late try as Australia win in Melbourne". skySPORTS. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Sheens: England no-try correct decision". Sportal. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Anzac Test: Kangaroos say only have one Test in 2015 doesn't affect importance of representing Australia". The Courier Mail. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "NRL must cut season and play more test matches, says former ARL boss Geoff Carr". stuff sport. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "League: Mal Meninga wants international football restored as pinnacle of the game". The Telegraph. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Meninga defends victorious Kangaroos after 'rugged' win over Kiwis". Kiama Independent. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Clarkson, Alan (2 July 1963). "Historic Jerseys for Aust. League Teams". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. p. 19. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- Jacquelin Magnay and Roy Masters (12 December 2003). "Tour theft not the first claim against Kangaroos suspect". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia: Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- "Kangaroos at Reunion". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. 11 August 1952. p. 6. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- Ritchie, Dean (4 October 2010). "Modern-era Kangaroos don't respect jumper, says McCarthy". The Daily Telegraph. Australia: News Limited. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- Join The Roo Crew at Four Nations – NRL.com
- "Kangaroos squad for Four Nations". nrl.com. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Trbojevic replaces Papalii for Kangaroos". nrl.com. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- Todd Balym (17 April 2008). "Johns, Meninga among Immortals". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
- "Sione Mata'utia to eclipse Israel Folau's record as the Australian Kangaroos youngest player". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- 2013 World Cup Final at Rugby League Project
- 1932 Australia vs England at Rugby League Project
- 1955 Australia vs France at Rugby League Project
- 2013 World Cup Semi-final at Rugby League Project
- 1975 Australia vs Wales at Rugby League Project
- 2000 Australia vs Papua New Guinea at Rugby League Project
- 2014 Australia vs Samoa at Rugby League Project
- 1963 Australia vs South Africa at Rugby League Project
- 2013 World Cup Quarter Final at Rugby League Project
- 2016 Australia vs Scotland at Rugby League Project
- 2013 World Cup Group A match at Rugby League Project
- 2000 World Cup Group A match at Rugby League Project
- Official Australian Rugby League site – The Australian Rugby League
- The Story of the Kangaroo War Cry – RL1908.com
- Australia's Green and Gold Colours – RL1908.com
- The Roo Crew Supporters Group
- 2008 Rugby League World Cup Site
- Australia Rugby League Fans Forums – RugbyLeague.org