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Opinion

Where has rugby league's Anzac Test gone?

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Roar Rookie
13th July, 2021
25

It’s been 605 days since the last game of international rugby league with any relevance to the upcoming World Cup was played.

Now, with questions marks as to whether or not the World Cup will even take place this year or fade away into the ether as another ‘logistical complexity’, it’s getting very irritating that the last time my itch was scratched saw Papua New Guinea roll over Great Britain.

While that historic victory at Port Moresby was dazzling to watch – and I sometimes find myself returning to view the highlights – in this void of international competition I’ve begun to wonder: where did the annual Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand go?

No other sporting code in the oceanic holds a similar contest annually to acknowledge the efforts and pay respects to our proud Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

Obviously rugby league has the annual Roosters and Dragons clash, followed by Storm and Warriors, but seeing as the second game – a greater representation of Australia and New Zealand – has only morphed into conception in the last ten years and the former only about 20 years shows these are not ancient rituals.

If these contests where as old as the birth of the game then yes, out of respect to history, wave six again and play on. But they aren’t, so would it really be a horrible idea if the Anzac Test was resurrected and made a permanent fixture as opposed to these two NRL clashes?

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The club clashes could move to the NRL before and or after and still be maintained as a permanent fixture of the NRL’s Anzac round. But allow Anzac day to host an annual Test between Australia and New Zealand.

This fixture could align with an international round being played the same week, so other nations could compete and give the NRL a break – similar to the already existing rep round.

This week of international footy could be a nice break from the weekly grind of the NRL and a chance to see some of the best players in the world duke it out in honour of those who served, while also giving international rugby league – yes, that includes you Australia – a fixture during the typical footy season, rather than be shunted to a small window in November.

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However, the likelihood of this happening in the near future is well, unlikely.

The original fixture was already scrapped after being moved a few weeks away from Anzac day and becoming more of an afterthought than an annual event. This is sad, as it could become a major annual sporting fixture that many fans – not just of rugby league – would tune in to see.

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