The Anglo-Australian sporting rivalry has once again dominated the sporting narrative in 2019.
Our Wallabies fell to England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final, while Aaron Finch’s men outclassed England in the group stage of the ODI World Cup before falling to the same side in the semi-final.
In September Tim Paine did what no Test captain since Steve Waugh had done by taking his re-energised Australian side to England and retaining the Ashes.
Australia and the Old Enemy have shared many great sporting battles over the centuries. England have had their fair share of major scalps, from the 2005 Ashes series to the 2003 Rugby World Cup victory following extra time in Sydney. In recent years the Kangaroos have dominated the Poms in rugby league Four Nations and World Cup tournaments, notably our 6-0 victory at Suncorp Stadium in the 2017 final.
While we have had a poor record recently in rugby union, defeating England at Twickenham to eliminate them from the 2015 World Cup before even the quarter-finals was a special moment.
So what better way to celebrate this sporting history and tradition than with a culmination of our major sports over one weekend featuring a multitude of men’s and women’s sports?
The Arthur Phillip Cup.
The vision for the Arthur Phillip Cup involves a series of sporting contests hosted in a single city over one huge weekend. The sports involved would include rugby union, rugby league, football, cricket, netball and hockey. Sydney should act as host city given all the sports are regularly played in the New South Wales capital.
The event would no doubt generate some significant publicity as Harry Kane, Owen Farrell, James Graham and Joe Root descend on Sydney to take on Aaron Mooy, Michael Hooper, Boyd Cordner and Steve Smith.
While they would no doubt be the stars of the event, the men’s hockey and all the women’s sports would receive additional publicity. In the last few years women’s sports have exploded in popularity and attention, and this event would only help that rise.
Women’s football – 5pm, ANZ Stadium
Men’s football – 7:30pm, ANZ Stadium
Women’s hockey – 12pm, Olympic Park
Men’s hockey – 2pm, Olympic Park
Netball – 5pm, Qudos Bank Arena
Women’s rugby union – 5:30pm, ANZ Stadium
Men’s rugby union – 8pm, ANZ Stadium
Women’s T20 cricket – 1pm, North Sydney Oval
Women’s rugby league – 1:30pm, Bankwest Stadium
Men’s rugby league – 4pm, Bankwest Stadium
Men’s T20 cricket – 6:30pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
Rugby league has traditionally been played on Sunday afternoons, so the Kangaroos and Jillaroos would be comfortable in Parramatta, traditional league heartland. The Wallabies have played the majority of their Test matches on Saturday nights since the dawn of professionalism, and an England match-up would draw a significant crowd worthy of ANZ Stadium, with the Wallaroos playing a curtain-raiser.
England have not played against the Socceroos in Australia since 1991, when 35,000 supporters filled the Sydney Football Stadium for a friendly. A Friday night double-header featuring the Socceroos and Matildas, who drew a record crowd of over 20,000 to their last home match at Bankwest Stadium, would go close to filling up ANZ Stadium.
Aaron Finch’s T20 side could play on Sunday night, a time they are no strangers to, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, potentially as part of a three-match series, while Meg Lanning and the women would fill North Sydney Oval for a T20 earlier in the day, particularly if it were part of an Ashes series.
What do you think, Roarers? Are you excited for a weekend of sporting rivalry?