1982 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France

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The 1982 Kangaroo tour was the fifteenth Kangaroo tour where the Australian national rugby league team played a number of matches against British and French rugby league teams, in addition to the Test matches. The Australia national rugby league team have generally since 1908 barring wartime, toured Great Britain every four years often capping the tour with matches and Tests in France. This regular touring side (and in recent years all Australian representative sides) are known as the Kangaroos.

The 1982 Kangaroos, coached by Frank Stanton dominated, winning both Test series against Great Britain (three Tests) and France (two Tests); winning every match of the tour and earning the nickname The Invincibles. This was the first Kangaroo undefeated touring side winning twenty-two matches played and scoring 1,005 points with 120 against at an average of 45.6 points per game while conceding only 5.4 points per game. The twenty-eight player squad was captained by Max Krilich, with Wally Lewis his deputy. The next Kangaroo Tour was staged in 1986.

Touring party

The team was coached by the tough and single-minded Balmain Tigers coach Frank Stanton who demanded great discipline and focus from his sides and who was making his third tour and his second consecutive as coach after also coaching the successful 1978 Kangaroo tour. Manly-Warringah's Max Krilich was making his second Kangaroo tour and was named captain and carried out his duties coolly and with great application.[1] Queensland captain Wally Lewis was named as tour vice-captain.

Interviewed by Whiticker in 2004 Krilich said about the talented squad; "The players in that squad were yet to reach their full potential. We were criticised as a weak side, but nobody knew how great a player Wayne Pearce was going to be on the tour. Wally Lewis was still in his early 20s and many of the Queenslanders were in the early stages of their careers". He also spoke of Stanton (who was his Manly-Warringah club coach when he had won the 1976 and 1978 NSWRFL premierships, the second of which Krilich was captain of the Sea Eagles): "Frank was a mentally tough coach who totally believed in what he told his players. Great credit must go to Stanton who played down the accomplishment and kept our heads straight." [2]

While the pair did not enjoy an easy relationship, mostly due to Stanton not being impressed with his attitude to training or habits on tour which actually caused him to put on weight, Wally Lewis also found respect for Stanton he had not previously experienced after making his test debut under him against France in 1981. After missing selection for the first Test in Hull in favour of Parramatta's 1982 premiership winning Five-eighth Brett Kenny, Stanton challenged Lewis to get back into shape and win his way back into the Test team, something he achieved with selection on the bench for the second Test in Wigan and the third Test in Leeds. Lewis later admitted that early on in the tour his poor attitude did not sit well with Stanton and that it had led to his missing first test selection.

Six players from the 1982 NSWRL premiership winning Parramatta Eels were selected in the squad, a new Kangaroo tour record for the club with all six players playing in at least one test each on the tour. Manly, the team they defeated in the inaugural Winfield Cup Grand Final, also had six players selected. One Manly player considered unlucky not to tour was their Queensland back rower Paul Vautin who had made his test debut earlier in the year against New Zealand and was one of Manly's best in their run to the Grand Final. His non-selection came as a shock to many and rumours started that he had missed out due to the NSW vs Qld selection room politics which prevailed at the time and that he had been a trade-off for a NSW player to be selected (ironically Vautin would be back into the test team for the first test against New Zealand in 1983). 1982 Brisbane premiers Wynnum-Manly had two players selected (Gene Miles and Rod Morris), while the team they defeated in the BRL Grand Final Souths Magpies were represented by Mal Meninga.

One notable absentee was Western Suburbs Five-eighth Terry Lamb who had represented NSW in the 1981 State of Origin game. Lamb was originally selected to tour but declined to do so due to his upcoming wedding to his fiance Kim.[3]

Tour managers were the Newtown administrator Frank Farrington and Queenslands, Tom Drysdale. Open Rugby magazine claimed the Australians had brought "a new dimension of excitement and adventure" to the game and former England great Alex Murphy, who called each test for the BBC alongside Ray French, called then "men from another planet."[1]

This was the first Kangaroo tour since the introduction of State of Origin and it allowed Queensland to counter New South Wales' long dominance in representative selection with a record-equalling eleven Queenslanders selected for the tour.[4] This was a considerable increase on the Queensland representation in the 1978 Kangaroos when only three players were selected. Interestingly, two of those players, Kerry Boustead and Rod Morris, were also members of the 1982 Kangaroos.

Despite there being a record number, the selection of only 11 Queenslander's in the 28 man touring squad was controversial. Queensland had won the 1982 State of Origin series despite being comparatively under prepared due to the NSWRFL clubs refusing to release their Queensland players for pre-series training. Among the Queensland Origin representatives to miss selection were Manly-Warringah's Paul Vautin and Chris Close (who had been the Man of the Match in both Origin games in 1980 and 1981), Wynnum-Manly fullback Colin Scott and South Sydney outside back Mitch Brennan.

Future Kangaroos captain Mal Meninga, making the first of his record four consecutive Kangaroo Tours, was the leading point scorer on tour with 166 from 10 tries and 68 goals, including 48 points in the three Tests against Great Britain (2 tries, 21 goals), and 17 points in the two Tests against France (1 try, 7 goals). John Ribot was the leading try scorer on tour with 25 from just 14 games, including a try in the 3rd test against Great Britain. Ribot added 20 goals to his points tally to join Meninga as the only players on tour to score over 100 points.

Player Club Position(s) Tests Matches Tries Goals F/Goals Points
New South Wales Chris Anderson Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Wing 0 12 8 0 0 24
Queensland Kerry Boustead Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Wing 6 13 9 0 0 27
New South Wales Les Boyd Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Second-row, Prop 3 14 3 0 0 9
New South Wales Greg Brentnall Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Fullback 6 13 3 0 0 9
New South Wales Ray Brown Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Hooker, Second-row 0 14 0 0 0 0
Queensland Greg Conescu Norths Devils colours.svg Norths Devils (Qld) Hooker 0 14 2 1 0 8
New South Wales Steve Ella Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Fullback, Centre, Five-eighth 0 13 21 1 0 65
New South Wales Eric Grothe Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Wing 4 14 21 1 0 65
Queensland Rohan Hancock File:Australian colours.svg Toowoomba Wattles (Qld) Prop 1 10 0 0 0 0
New South Wales Brett Kenny Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Five-eighth, Centre 6 12 6 0 0 18
New South Wales Max Krilich (c) Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Hooker 6 12 1 0 0 3
Queensland Wally Lewis (vc) File:Valleys colours.svg Fortitude Valley Diehards (Qld) Five-eighth 3 14 3 9 0 27
New South Wales Paul McCabe Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Second-row 3 13 7 0 0 21
New South Wales Don McKinnon North Sydney colours.svg North Sydney Bears Prop 0 10 3 1 0 11
Queensland Mal Meninga Western Suburbs colours.svg Souths Logan Magpies (Qld) Centre 6 14 10 68 0 166
Queensland Gene Miles Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Wynnum-Manly Seagulls (Qld) Centre 0 11 1 0 0 3
Queensland Rod Morris Wynnum-Manly Colours.svg Wynnum-Manly Seagulls (Qld) Prop 0 12 0 0 0 0
New South Wales Steve Mortimer Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Halfback 0 9 6 1 0 20
New South Wales John Muggleton Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Second-row 1 14 9 0 0 27
Queensland Mark Murray File:Valleys colours.svg Fortitude Valley Diehards (Qld) Halfback 0 10 4 1 0 14
New South Wales Wayne Pearce Balmain colours.svg Balmain Tigers Lock, Second-row 5 13 5 0 0 15
New South Wales Ray Price Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Lock 3 9 2 0 0 6
Queensland John Ribot Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Wing, Lock 2 14 25 20 0 115
Queensland Rod Reddy St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Second-row 4 12 2 0 0 6
New South Wales Steve Rogers Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Centre 5 16 10 7 0 44
New South Wales Ian Schubert Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Eastern Suburbs Roosters Lock, Fullback, Wing 0 12 3 0 0 9
New South Wales Peter Sterling Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels Halfback 5 12 8 0 0 24
New South Wales Craig Young St. George colours.svg St George Dragons Prop 4 11 1 0 0 3

By club

The touring side was represented by 17 New South Welshmen (N) and 11 Queenslanders (Q).

Papua New Guinea and Western Australia

Before flying to England, half the squad, led by Kangaroos vice-captain Wally Lewis, went to Perth to play Western Australia, while the other half, along with coach Stanton, travelled to Papua New Guinea for Australia's first ever Test match against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls, won 38–2 by the Kangaroos. Nine of the players who travelled to PNG with Stanton would go on to play in the first Test against Great Britain. Winger John Ribot crossed for four tries (though he would be overlooked for the first two Ashes Tests in favour of Eric Grothe), while fullback Greg Brentnall scored twice. Other try scorers for the Kangaroos were Kerry Boustead, Brett Kenny, Mal Meninga and Steve Rogers, while Meninga kicked 4 goals. Peter Sterling, Brett Kenny, Mark Murray and Ray Brown made their test debuts in the match.

Those missing from the 2nd test win over New Zealand earlier in the year at the Sydney Cricket Ground were Michael Cronin who did not tour, and Wally Lewis, Steve Mortimer, Les Boyd and Rod Morris who played in Perth on the same day.

2 October 1982
Papua New Guinea  2 – 38  Australia

Kungas Kuveu (1/2)
[1] Tries:
John Ribot (4)
Greg Brentnall (2)
Kerry Boustead
Brett Kenny
Mal Meninga
Steve Rogers
Mal Meninga (4/10)
Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
Attendance: 15,000
Referee/s: Don Wilson New Zealand
Papua New Guinea Position Australia
Kungas Kuveu FB Greg Brentnall
Alan Rero WG John Ribot
Ifiso Segeyaro CE Mal Meninga
James Yip CE Steve Rogers
D. Timi WG Kerry Boustead
Jon Joseph (c) SO Brett Kenny
Alfred Kabavas SH Peter Sterling
Tara Gau PR Rohan Hancock
Otti Asotau HK Max Krilich (c)
Joe Tep PR Craig Young
Arebo Taumaku SR Rod Reddy
L. Tete SR John Muggleton
Roy Loitive LF Ray Price
Francis Matmillo Int. Mark Murray
Ekon Togili Int. Ray Brown
Skerry Palanga Coach Frank Stanton

Australia: Ian Schubert, Eric Grothe, Steve Ella, Gene Miles, Chris Anderson, Wally Lewis (c), Steve Mortimer, Rod Morris, Greg Conescu, Rohan Hancock, Les Boyd, Paul McCabe, Wayne Pearce. Res – Don McKinnon

In Perth, the Kangaroos crossed for 13 tries (with Eric Grothe bagging four) and predictably defeated WA 57–5.

Great Britain

Once on English soil controversy surfaced when the incumbent Australian Test halves from the mid-year tests against New Zealand, Steve Mortimer and Wally Lewis (both had played the game against WA in Perth), were incomprehensibly not chosen for the opening match. Instead, Stanton chose to go with the halves from the test against Papua New Guinea, Parramatta's Grand Final winning duo Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny. The Eels pair took the field against Hull Kingston Rovers and, playing alongside nine of the eventual first Test team, set about locking up their positions for the first Test on 30 October.

Leading up to the first Test at the Boothferry Park ground in Hull, the Kangaroos also played a tour international match against Wales at Ninian Park in Cardiff on 24 October. The match was played in heavy rain in front of 5,617 fans and Australia, captained by Wally Lewis, ran in nine tries to one in a 37-7 rout. The game marked the first time Lewis, who would take over the Test captaincy in 1984, captained Australia in an international match.

Fiery forward Les Boyd enhanced his reputation for the rough play when he was sent off twice on tour. He was sent off in the first game of the tour against Hull Kingston Rovers at Craven Park, and in the second Test against the Lions at Central Park in Wigan. He was also sin-binned in the third Ashes Test at Headingley in Leeds.

Hull Kingston Rovers: George Fairbairn, Steve Hubbard, Mike Smith, Ian Robinson, Garry Clark, Steve Hartley, James Walsh, Roy Holdstock, David Watkinson, Steve Crooks, Andy Kelly, Chris Burton, Gary Prohm. Res – Phil Lowe. Coach – Roger Millward

Australia: Greg Brentnall, Eric Grothe, Mal Meninga, Steve Rogers, John Ribot, Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling, Craig Young, Max Krilich (c), Rod Morris, Les Boyd, Rod Reddy, Ray Price. Res – Wally Lewis, John Muggleton

Hull KR led the Kangaroos 8–5 at half time. It would not be until Leeds led Australia 10–6 at Headingley during the 1990 Kangaroo tour that an English club side would lead the Kangaroos at half time of a tour march.

Wigan: Barry Williams, Dennis Ramsdale, David Stephenson, Colin Whitfield, Henderson Gill, Martin Foy, Gary Stephens, Lee Bamber, Nicky Kiss, Glyn Shaw, Brian Juliff, Mick Scott, John Pendlebury. Res – Jimmy Fairhurst, Danny Campbell. Coach – Alex Murphy

Australia: Ian Schubert, Chris Anderson, Steve Ella, Gene Miles, Kerry Boustead, Wally Lewis (c), Steve Mortimer, Don McKinnon, Ray Brown, Rohan Hancock, Paul McCabe, John Muggleton, Wayne Pearce. Res – Steve Rogers, Ray Price

Barrow: Steve Tickle, Keith Bentley, Ron O'Regan, Ralph McConnell, Michael James, Mel Mason, David Cairns, Malcolm Flynn, Les Wall, Peter Gee, Eddie Szymala, Mark Gillespie, Derek Hadley. Res – Steve Herbert. Coach – Frank Foster

Australia: Ian Schubert, Chris Anderson, Steve Ella, Gene Miles, John Ribot, Wally Lewis (c), Mark Murray, Rohan Hancock, Greg Conescu, Rod Morris, Les Boyd, Rod Reddy, Wayne Pearce. Res – Ray Brown, Steve Rogers

St Helens: Clive Griffiths, Barry Ledger, Chris Arkwright, David Fairclough, Denis Litherland, Stephen Peters, Neil Holding, Mel James, Michael Glover, Brian Gelling, Roy Mathias, Paul Forber, Andy Platt. Res – John Smith, Paul Brownbill. Coach – Billy Benyon

Australia: Greg Brentnall, Kerry Boustead, Mal Meninga, Steve Rogers, Eric Grothe, Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling, Craig Young, Max Krilich (c), Les Boyd, Wayne Pearce, John Muggleton, Ray Price. Res – Wally Lewis, Rod Morris

Leeds: Neil Hague, Alan Smith, Ian Wilkinson, Les Dyl, Andrew Smith, John Holmes, Mark Conway, Roy Dickinson, David Ward (c), Tony Burke, Keith Rayne, Wayne Heron, David Heron. Res – Mark Massa, Andrew Sykes. Coach – Robin Dewhurst

Australia: Greg Brentnall, Kerry Boustead, Mal Meninga, Steve Rogers, Eric Grothe, Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling, Craig Young, Max Krilich (c), Les Boyd, Paul McCabe, John Muggleton, Wayne Pearce. Res – Steve Ella, Rod Morris


The Kangaroos played a non-test international against Wales at Ninian Park in Cardiff.

24 Oct 1982
Wales  7 – 37  Australia
Brynmor Williams

Steve Fenwick (1)
Lyn Hopkins (1)
[8] Tries:
Steve Ella (4)
John Ribot (2)
Wally Lewis
Mark Murray
Don McKinnon
Wally Lewis (4)
Don McKinnon (1)
Ninian Park, Cardiff
Attendance: 5,617
Referee/s: Gerry Kershaw England
Wales Posit. Australia
Lyn Hopkins FB Steve Ella
Chris Camilleri WG Chris Anderson
Steve Fenwick CE Gene Miles
John Bevan (c) CE Wally Lewis (c)
Paul Prendiville WG John Ribot
Lynn Hallett SO Mark Murray
Brynmor Williams SH Steve Mortimer
Glyn Shaw PR Rod Morris
Donald Parry HK Ray Brown
Tommy David PR Don McKinnon
Martin Herdman SR Paul McCabe
Brian Juliff SR Rod Reddy
Paul Ringer LF Ian Schubert
Mark McJennett Res. Kerry Boustead
Res. Greg Conescu
David Watkins Coach Frank Stanton

The Ashes series

Due to sponsorship reasons, the 1982 Ashes was known as the "Dominion Insurance Test series".

First Test

While Australia's side for the opening Test was built around the new breed of young players such as Eric Grothe, Wayne Pearce, Mal Meninga, Brett Kenny and Peter Sterling mixing with veterans Craig Young, Les Boyd, Ray Price, Rod Reddy, Kerry Boustead, Steve Rogers and captain Max Krilich, Great Britain chose five players aged over 30. The only player over the age of 30 for the Kangaroos first test team was Krilich who had turned 33 only five days prior to the test.

30 Oct 1982
Great Britain  4 – 40  Australia

Lee Crooks (2/2)
[9] Tries
Mal Meninga
Les Boyd
Eric Grothe
Ray Price
Kerry Boustead
Brett Kenny
Wayne Pearce
Rod Reddy
Mal Meninga (8/10)
Boothferry Park, Hull
Attendance: 26,771
Referee/s: Julien Rascagneres France
Man of the Match: Wayne Pearce File:Australian colours.svg
Great Britain Position Australia
George Fairbairn FB Greg Brentnall
Des Drummond WG Eric Grothe
Eric Hughes CE Mal Meninga
Les Dyl CE Steve Rogers
Steve Evans WG Kerry Boustead
John Woods SO Brett Kenny
Steve Nash SH Peter Sterling
Jeff Grayshon PR Craig Young
David Ward (c) HK Max Krilich (c)
Trevor Skerrett PR Les Boyd
Les Gorley SR Rod Reddy
Lee Crooks SR Wayne Pearce
Steve Norton LF Ray Price
David Heron Int.
Johnny Whiteley Coach Frank Stanton

Great Britain did well in the first half to trail by only 4-10 at half time, but the two penalty goals by Hull second rower Lee Crooks in his test debut was as good as it got for the home side. In the second half the Kangaroos unleashed their skills and fitness, and blazed six stunning tries to leave the British game, and most of the 26,771 strong crowd at Hull's Boothferry Park stunned. The game was Australia's 5th straight win over Great Britain, dating back to the final Test of the 1978 Kangaroo Tour and the 3-0 whitewash of the Lions on their lacklustre 1979 Australasian tour.

In his test debut for Australia, back row forward Wayne Pearce was judged as the Man of the Match. Centre Mal Meninga, playing in the first of what would eventually be a record 17 Ashes tests against Great Britain, scored the opening try of the game after good lead up work by Peter Sterling and Pearce, then palming off Les Dyl and outpacing fullback George Fairbairn to score in the corner. Meninga also kicked 8 of 10 goals for a personal haul of 19 points.

In commentary for the BBC, former England international Ray French stated after the final siren "Well, I've got to eat a little humble pie. I thought Great Britain could do something but with only those two penalty goals from Lee Crooks its back to the drawing board for the Great Britain selectors I'm afraid", while his commentary partner, former Lions halfback and Kangaroos tormentor Alex Murphy said during the Kangaroos second half onslaught "We need something to combat this lot."

Leigh: Mick Hogan, Des Drummond, John Henderson, Steve Donlan, Graham Worgan, John Woods, Ken Green, Alf Wilkinson, Ray Tabern, Derek Pyke, Eric Chisnall, Geoff Clarkson, Ian Potter. Res - Steve Tomlinson, Edwin Hunter. Coach - Colin Clarke

Australia: Steve Ella, Chris Anderson, Mal Meninga, Gene Miles, John Ribot, Wally Lewis (c), Steve Mortimer, Don McKinnon, Ray Brown, Rod Morris, Paul McCabe, John Muggleton, Ian Schubert

Bradford Northern: John Green, David Barends, Keith Mumby, Richard Davies, Steve Pullen, Bill Kells, Alan Redfearn, Jeff Grayshon, Brian Noble, Gary Van Bellen, Graham Idle, Dick Jasiewicz, Alan Rathbone. Res - Dean Carroll, Chris Parrott. Coach - Peter Fox

Australia: Greg Brentnall, Chris Anderson, Gene Miles, Steve Rogers (c), Eric Grothe, Brett Kenny, Mark Murray, Craig Young, Greg Conescu, Rohan Hancock, Rod Reddy, Paul McCabe, Ray Price. Res - Ray Brown

Cumbria: Lyn Hopkins, Bob Mackie, Dean Bell, Ralph McConnell, Terry Moore, Mel Mason, David Cairns, Steve Herbert, Alan McCurrie, Malcolm Flynn, Bill Pattison, Peter Gorley, Derek Hadley. Res – David Beck, Ian Hartley

Australia: Greg Brentnall, Kerry Boustead, Mal Meninga, Steve Ella, John Ribot, Wally Lewis, Peter Sterling, Don McKinnon, Max Krilich (c), Rohan Hancock, John Muggleton, Ian Schubert, Wayne Pearce. Res – Steve Rogers, Ray Price

Fulham: David Eckersley, Adrian Cambriani, David Allen, Steve Diamond, Hussein M'Barki, John Crossley, Reg Bowden (c), Harry Beverley, John Dalgreen, Tony Gourley, Martin Herdman, Peter Souto, John Doherty. Res – Neil Tuffs. Coach - Reg Bowden

Australia: Steve Ella, Chris Anderson, Gene Miles, Wally Lewis (c), John Ribot, Mark Murray, Steve Mortimer, Don McKinnon, Ray Brown, Les Boyd, Paul McCabe, John Muggleton, Ian Schubert. Res – Greg Conescu

Hull: Gary Kemble, Dane O'Hara, Steve Evans, James Leuluai, Paul Prendiville, David Topliss (c), Tony Dean, Mick Harrison, Keith Bridges, Paul Rose, Wayne Proctor, Lee Crooks, Mick Crane. Res – Barry Banks, Mick Sutton. Coach – Arthur Bunting

Australia: Greg Brentnall, Kerry Boustead, Mal Meninga, Steve Rogers, Eric Grothe, Brett Kenny, Peter Sterling, Craig Young, Max Krilich (c), Les Boyd, Wayne Pearce, Rod Reddy, Ray Price. Res – Wally Lewis

Second Test

Despite ten changes to the Lions' side, with only winger Des Drummond and props Trevor Skerrett and Jeff Grayshon, who also took over the captaincy, retained from the first Test thrashing, the second Test was scarcely a contest and the Kangaroos won by 27-6.

20 November 1982
Great Britain  6 – 27  Australia

Keith Mumby (3/3)
[15] Tries
Ray Price
Peter Sterling
Eric Grothe
Mal Meninga
Steve Rogers
Mal Meninga (6/8)
Central Park, Wigan
Attendance: 23,126
Referee/s: Julien Rascagneres France
Man of the Match: Ray Price File:Australian colours.svg
Great Britain Position Australia
Keith Mumby FB Greg Brentnall
Des Drummond WG Kerry Boustead
Mike Smith CE Mal Meninga
David Stephenson CE Steve Rogers
Henderson Gill WG Eric Grothe
John Holmes SO Brett Kenny
Ken Kelly SH Peter Sterling
Jeff Grayshon (c) PR Craig Young
John Dalgreen HK Max Krilich (c)
Trevor Skerrett PR Les Boyd
Bob Eccles SR Rod Reddy
Chris Burton SR Wayne Pearce
David Heron LF Ray Price
John Woods Int. Wally Lewis
Alan Rathbone Int. Ray Brown
Johnny Whiteley Coach Frank Stanton

Australia's fiery forward Les Boyd was sent off late in the first half for kicking a tackled player on the ground. The touch judge, only seeing Boyd's kick and not that it was in reaction to tackled Lions hooker John Dalgreen lashing out with a boot at Boyd while he was on the ground, came on with his flag up and French referee Julien Rascagneres, who did not actually see the incident, did not hesitate in sending Boyd off, leaving the Kangaroos to play out the remaining 46 minutes with twelve men. Eric Grothe suffered a knee injury while scoring a try late in the first half and was replaced at half time by Wally Lewis. The injury would see Grothe miss the third Test, played a week later in Leeds. Lewis came straight in to the five-eighth position while Brett Kenny moved to the centres and Mal Meninga out to the wing. Half-way through the second half Wally showed the Lions what the British game was missing when he sent a bullet like 20 metre pass to Meninga to score in the corner. The pass did psychological damage to the Lions, who wondered how good the Kangaroos were if they had reserves could pass like Lewis did.

Widnes: Mick Burke, John Basnett, Joe Lydon, Keiron O'Loughlin, Chris Camilleri, Andy Gregory, David Hulme, Kevin Tamati, Keith Elwell, Steve O'Neill, Keith Newton, Eric Prescott, Tony Myler. Res - John Myler. Coach – Doug Laughton

Australia: Steve Ella, Chris Anderson, Mal Meninga, Steve Rogers, John Ribot, Wally Lewis (c), Steve Mortimer, Craig Young, Ray Brown, Rod Morris, Les Boyd, Paul McCabe, Ian Schubert. Res – Mark Murray, John Muggleton

Third Test

Injuries forced Frank Stanton to make three changes to the Kangaroos for the final Test. Eric Grothe's knee injury in the second Test kept him out with the tour's leading try scorer John Ribot coming onto the wing; Rod Morris replaced Craig Young in the front row; while Ray Price was also ruled out with a knee injury and was replaced by Paul McCabe in the second row allowing Wayne Pearce to move to his favoured position at lock forward.

28 November 1982
Great Britain  8 – 32  Australia
Steve Evans

Lee Crooks (2/3)
Field Goals
Lee Crooks
[17] Tries
Kerry Boustead
John Ribot
Steve Rogers
Brett Kenny
Max Krilich
Wayne Pearce
Mal Meninga (7/10)
Headingley, Leeds
Attendance: 17,318
Referee/s: Julien Rascagneres France
Man of the Match: Brett Kenny File:Australian colours.svg
Great Britain Position Australia
George Fairbairn FB Greg Brentnall
Des Drummond WG Kerry Boustead
David Stephenson CE Mal Meninga
Mike Smith CE Steve Rogers
Steve Evans WG John Ribot
David Topliss (c) SO Brett Kenny
Andy Gregory SH Peter Sterling
Mike O'Neill PR Les Boyd
Brian Noble HK Max Krilich (c)
Paul Rose PR Rod Morris
Peter Smith SR Paul McCabe
Lee Crooks SR Rod Reddy
Mick Crane LF Wayne Pearce
Neil Courtney Int. Wally Lewis
Int. Ray Brown
Johnny Whiteley Coach Frank Stanton

Stanton predicted that the third Test would be the best contested of the three, and it was up until the final ten minutes. Recalled Widnes halfback Andy Gregory, and Bradford Northern hooker Brian Noble (on Test debut), led the way for the Lions and provided a service to their speedy outside backs that Britain had lacked in the first two Tests. The Lions made more line breaks in the third Test at Headingley than they had in the previous two Tests combined. The Australians ran with a very strong breeze in the first half and used this to their advantage, keeping much of the play in Great Britain's half, though they were unable to cross the British try line. Mal Meninga kicked three goals (two from near half-way) while Hull youngster Lee Crooks kicked two long range penalties into the breeze to keep the Lions in the game at 6-4 at half time. Winger Des Drummond brought the crowd to its feet mid-way through the half with a 40-metre run from near his own line before he was brought down on half-way by Greg Brentnall and Steve Rogers in cover.

The first try of the game came with just on 50 minutes gone. From deep in his own half, Brentnall made a break down the right wing after breaking a tackle. The play looked like breaking down when he didn't pass to an un-marked Kerry Boustead on his outside and was tackled from behind by a desperate David Stephenson. From there the Kangaroos spread the ball to the opposite wing where Ribot was tackled. Wayne Pearce then broke the British line before passing to Rod Reddy who gave the ball to Ribot flying on his outside. Ribot crashed over in the corner with Lions fullback George Fairbairn clinging to his legs. Pearce then made another break and sent captain Max Krilich on a 30-metre run for his first try of the tour. Krilich scored under the posts giving Meninga an easy conversion and Australia held a 14-4 lead. With just over 10 minutes left to play the Aussies were holding-off Great Britain by 14-8 and an intense finish loomed after Hull winger Steve Evans had scored the Lions only try of the series (it was also the first try the Australians had conceded in all 11 Tests they'd played since the second Ashes Test of 1979 against the Lions in Brisbane). It seemed Britain had not been so far behind Australia's standard after all, but in the final 10 minutes the Kangaroos superior fitness told and they ripped the home side apart with 4 tries to Boustead, Pearce, Steve Rogers and Man of the Match Brett Kenny to run out win 32-8 winners and become the first touring side to go through Britain undefeated.

Right on half-time there was a set-to between forwards Les Boyd and Mick Crane which resulted in an all-in brawl. Boyd had hit Lions captain David Topliss (their third captain in as many tests) with a shoulder charge on the half-way line and Topliss had lashed out with his feet at Boyd who then punched Topliss as he lay on the ground, with Crane then coming in and began trading punches with the Australian front rower. As the teams lined up for the second half, referee Rascagneres called out both Boyd and Crane and sent both to the sin-bin for 10 minutes.

The Ashes series win was Australia's 4th straight over the Lions dating back to 1974, and their second straight 3-0 series win. It also continued the streak started by the 1963-64 Kangaroos of successfully defending The Ashes in England. As of 2015, this was also the last test Australia played at Headingley. Starting with the 1986 Kangaroo tour, all internationals Australia has played in Leeds have been played at the Elland Road stadium, home of the Leeds United soccer club, due to its greater spectator capacity (Elland Road currently holds 37,914 while Headingley has a capacity of 21,062).


French Tests

First Test

The tourists found the French Tests more of a challenge than the British, but in the end the Kangaroos prevailed and finished their tour unbeaten.

Sunday, 5 Dec
France  4 – 15  Australia

Andre Perez (2)
[19] Tries
Eric Grothe (2)
Wayne Pearce
Mal Meninga (3)
Parc des Sports, Avignon
Attendance: 8,000
Referee/s: Robin Whitfield England
France Position Australia
Andre Perez FB Greg Brentnall
Patrick Solal WG Kerry Boustead
Guy Delaunay CE Steve Rogers
Jacques Guigue CE Brett Kenny
Philippe Fourcade WG Mal Meninga
Herve Guiraud SO Wally Lewis
Ivan Grésèque SH Peter Sterling
Henri Daniel PR Craig Young
Christian Macalli HK Max Krilich (c)
Max Chantal PR Rod Morris
Guy Laforgue SR Paul McCabe
Marc Ambert SR Les Boyd
Joel Roosebrouck (c) LF Wayne Pearce
Christian Laumond Int. Eric Grothe
Manuel Caravaca Int. Ray Brown
Coach Frank Stanton

During the first half, Wally Lewis dislocated his shoulder while attempting to tackle a French player which ended his tour, though as there were only 2 weeks remaining he remained with the squad until they returned to Australia. He was replaced by Eric Grothe who went to the wing, Mal Meninga moved to his preferred centre with Brett Kenny moving to 5/8.

Second Test

18 Dec 1982
France  9 – 23  Australia
Ivan Grésèque

Fernand Kaminski (3/3)
[24] Tries
Eric Grothe (2)
Brett Kenny
Rod Reddy
Mal Meninga
Mal Meninga (4/5)
Stade L'Egassiarial, Narbonne
Attendance: 7,000
Referee/s: Robin Whitfield England
France Position Australia
Jacques Guigue FB Greg Brentnall
Patrick Solal WG Kerry Boustead
Guy Delaunay CE Steve Rogers
Christian Laumond CE Mal Meninga
Fernand Kaminski WG Eric Grothe
Herve Guiraud SO Brett Kenny
Ivan Grésèque SH Peter Sterling
Charles Zalduendo PR Craig Young
Christian Macalli HK Max Krilich (c)
Max Chantal PR Les Boyd
Jean-Jacques Cologni SR Rod Reddy
Guy Laforgue SR Paul McCabe
Joel Roosebrouck (c) LF Wayne Pearce
Michel Laville Int. Steve Ella
Manuel Caravaca Int. Ray Brown
Coach Frank Stanton


Leading Try Scorer

Leading Point Scorer

Largest Attendance

Largest Club Game Attendance


  1. 1.0 1.1 Heads, Lester p309
  2. Whiticker p319
  3. Last Straw for Lamb
  4. John MacDonald and Ian Arnold (29 June 1989). "Kangaroos fly the Maroon flag". The Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. p. 50. Retrieved 21 February 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Heads, Ian and Lester, Gary (1988) 200 Years of Australian Sport, Lester Townsend, Sydney
  • Whiticker, Alan(2004) Captaining the Kangaroos, New Holland, Sydney
  • Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney

External links