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Anzac Test

2005 Anzac Test logo
2005 logo
Sport Rugby league football
Inaugural season 1997
Number of teams 2
Countries  Australia
 New Zealand
Trophy holders  New Zealand (2015)
Most titles  Australia (14 titles)
Broadcast partner Nine Network (Australia)
Sky Sport (New Zealand)

The ANZAC Test is an annual rugby league football test match (known as the Bundaberg Rum Test from 2004–2008 and the VB Test in 2009 for sponsorship reasons). Inaugurated in 1997,[1] the test is played annually between Australia and New Zealand on or around Anzac Day for the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy.[2]

In August 2015 the NRL made a new $925 million (Australian) TV deal. One major incentive of the deal was for player welfare and satisfaction and therefore the deal revealed that the NRL regular season would now be played over 25 rounds, not 26. The week taken off of this new deal was the representative weekend and, although the Pacific tests still remain (which have been shifted to play on a Sunday on the same day as game 2 of the State of Origin series), the ANZAC test has been removed from the NRL calendar with the deal revealing that the International game will be given "a new priority" in a dedicated window after the NRL Premiership season.[3] The ANZAC test will still be played until 2018 when the new TV deal comes into play.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Naming controversy 1.2
    • Trophy 1.3
    • Demise and Reconception 1.4
  • Overall tally 2
  • Results 3
  • 2015 May Test 4
    • Squads 4.1
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



Australia and New Zealand had competed in Rugby League Tests since 1908. The ANZAC Test, played on or around ANZAC Day, was introduced by Super League (Australia) in 1997. When New Zealand was defeated 56–0 in 2000 the Australian Rugby League (ARL) was criticised for playing the match before the State of Origin series. The Test was then dropped from the annual schedule in favour of match in mid-July. In 2002 and 2003 Australia defeated Great Britain (64–10) and New Zealand (48–6) in July Test matches, so the Bundaberg Rum Test (as it became known for sponsorship reasons) was revived the following year.

Naming controversy

The ANZAC Test was controversial for its use of the term ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and its perceived comparison of professional sportsmen with soldiers. However Super League donated a large sum of money to the RSL, and Bruce Ruxton featured in commercials for the inaugural ANZAC Test, proclaiming

"Mark my words, Australia is still in grave danger from one of our so-called neighbours. The Kiwis were once our allies and now they’re on the other side – at least for 80 minutes".[4]

The word ANZAC is protected in Australia by The Protection of Word "ANZAC" Regulations (under the War Precautions Act Repeal Act 1920) and requires permission of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs for use in commercial events.[5] This permission was given for the event from 1997–1999.[6]

From 2004 until 2008 the match was officially called the Bundaberg Rum League Test, after the principal sponsor, Bundaberg Rum. For the 2009 fixture, the principal sponsor was Victoria Bitter and, as such, the match was officially called the VB Test.[7] Despite the official name change, it is still common for the match to be called the ANZAC Test.[8]


Two different trophies have been awarded for the winner of this Test. For the 1997–1999 ANZAC Tests, the winner was awarded the ANZAC Trophy, which depicted an Australian slouch hat and New Zealand lemon squeezer hat.

Since 2004, the winner of the Bundaberg Rum League Test has been awarded the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy.[9] This trophy was donated in 1996 by Gerald Ryan ONZM, a past president of the New Zealand Rugby League. It is named after Bill Kelly, a New Zealand rugby league player in the early 20th century.

The Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy was briefly stolen by three 25-year-old New Zealand men after Australia's victory in the 2006 Test. It was found several hours later on the awning of a nearby building.[10] The trophy currently resides at the Australian Rugby League headquarters in Sydney.

In 2011 the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy was not played for in the ANZAC Test, but instead in a one-off post-season test match.

Demise and Reconception

In 2007, the New Zealand Rugby League announced that the ANZAC Test would not be contested after 2008, citing difficulties with selecting their best possible team for a match held at that time of year. According to the NZRL Director of Football, Graham Lowe, "We have an obligation to play Australia in Sydney on 9 May next year, because it is their centenary test, and we will fulfil it, but that will be the last one." Although the NZRL did not think that the ANZAC Tests were still a viable option, they were "optimistic an international calendar will be adopted.".[11]

After New Zealand's win in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, the release of new RLIF world rankings, and the introduction of a new international schedule,[12] the annual mid-season test between Australia and New Zealand was revived. The 2009 fixture was played on 8 May at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.[8]

The 2010 ANZAC Test, played on 7 May, was the first game of football at Melbourne's newly constructed AAMI Park.

The 2011 ANZAC Test was scheduled to be held at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on 6 May. However, the match had to be rescheduled at Skilled Park on Australia's Gold Coast due to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

The 2012 ANZAC Test was held at Eden Park, Auckland, on 20 April and was adjudicated by English Referee, Richard Silverwood.

The 2013 Test was held at the Canberra Stadium on 19 April. This marked the first time that the Australian team had played a test in Australia's capital city. The game was played in Canberra to celebrate the centenary of that city.

The 2014 ANZAC Test played at the Sydney Football Stadium on 2 May, saw test football return to Sydney for the first time since the 2010 Four Nations.

The 2015 ANZAC Test, played at Suncorp Stadium, was originally scheduled to take place on 1 May but bad weather caused the game to be postponed to 3 May. This marked the first time a rugby league Test in Australia was ever done so.

Overall tally

Team Wins
Australia1 14
New Zealand 2
  1. Includes the Australia (Super League) victory in 1997.


Australia have won all but two ANZAC Tests.

Date Result Venue Attendance
3 May 2015 New Zealand def. Australia 26-12 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 32,681
2 May 2014 Australia def. New Zealand 30-18 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney 25,429
19 April 2013 Australia def. New Zealand 32–12 Canberra Stadium, Canberra 25,628
20 April 2012 Australia def. New Zealand 20–12 Eden Park, Auckland 35,329
6 May 2011 Australia def. New Zealand 20–10 Robina Stadium, Gold Coast 26,301
7 May 2010 Australia def. New Zealand 12–8 Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Melbourne 29,442[13]
8 May 2009 Australia def. New Zealand 38–10 Lang Park, Brisbane 37,152
9 May 2008 Australia def. New Zealand 28–12 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney 34,571
20 April 2007 Australia def. New Zealand 30–6 Lang Park, Brisbane 35,241
5 May 2006 Australia def. New Zealand 50–12 Lang Park, Brisbane 44,191
22 April 2005 Australia def. New Zealand 32–16[14] Lang Park, Brisbane 40,317
23 April 2004 Australia def. New Zealand 37–10 Newcastle International Sports Centre, Newcastle 21,537
21 April 2000 Australia def. New Zealand 52–0 Stadium Australia, Sydney 26,023
23 April 1999 Australia def. New Zealand 20–14[15] Stadium Australia, Sydney 30,245
24 April 1998 New Zealand def. Australia 22–16[16] North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 25,000
25 April 1997 Australia (SL) def. New Zealand 34–22 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney 23,829

2015 May Test


Australia Position New Zealand
Greg Inglis1 Fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Josh Dugan Wing
Will Chambers Centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Michael Jennings Centre Peta Hiku
Alex Johnston Wing Manu Vatuvei
Johnathan Thurston Five-Eighth Kieran Foran
Cooper Cronk Halfback Shaun Johnson
Matt Scott Prop Jesse Bromwich
Cameron Smith (c) Hooker Issac Luke
Aaron Woods Prop Ben Matulino
Greg Bird 2nd Row Tohu Harris
Sam Thaiday 2nd Row Kevin Proctor
Corey Parker Lock Simon Mannering (c)
Luke Lewis Interchange Thomas Leuluai
Trent Merrin Interchange Martin Taupau
Nate Myles Interchange Sam Moa
James Tamou Interchange Greg Eastwood
Tim Sheens Coach Stephen Kearney

1 - Billy Slater was originally selected to play but withdrew due to injury. Greg Inglis was shifted to Fullback while Michael Jennings was promoted to the Centre after originally being named 19th Man.
2 - Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was originally selected to play but was withdrawn due to suspension. He was replaced by Jason Nightingale.

3 May 2015
4:15pm (AEST)
Australia  12 – 26  New Zealand
Thaiday (13') 1
Chambers (59') 1
Thurston 2/2
(14', 59')
[17] Tries:
Vatuvei (20', 28') 2
Johnson (31') 1
Kenny-Dowall (40') 1
Johnson 5/6
(8' pen, 29', 33', 39' pen, 40')
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia
Attendance: 32,681
Referee/s: Gerard Sutton
Man of the Match: Manu Vatuvei

See also


  1. ^ McCann, Liam (2006). Rugby: Facts, Figures and Fun. UK: AAPPL Artists' and Photographers' Press. p. 80. 
  2. ^ League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia (PDF). National Museum of Australia. 2008. pp. vii.  
  3. ^ "Anzac test axed as part of new NRL TV deal". 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ [5]
  6. ^ [6]
  7. ^ ARL Media release. "VB Test Match tickets on sale today!". Australian Rugby League. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  8. ^ a b NZRL Media release. "Marshall to Captain Pirtek Kiwis in Anzac Test". League Unlimited. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  9. ^ pictured here
  10. ^ "Fan steals Anzac Cup". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 May 2006. 
  11. ^ Michael Brown (10 June 2007). "League: NZRL move to red card Anzac tests". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  12. ^ "League: League: Aussies grumpy over schedule release". New Zealand Herald. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Annual Report 2005 – Australian Rugby League
  15. ^ Jessup, Peter (1999-04-24). "Valiant Kiwis can hold heads high in defeat".  
  16. ^ "ANZAC Test 2014 Kiwis Media Guide" (PDF).  
  17. ^ Harris, Matt (3 May 2015). "Kiwis stun Kangaroos in Brisbane". 

External links

  • "W(h)ither ANZAC Day? – The Legal Protection of "ANZAC", Digger History website. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
  • "Fan Steals ANZAC Cup", Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
  • "The Protection of National Icons", Advisory Council on Intellectual Property. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
  • "Killing ANZAC", Digger History website. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
  • "Reveller Slammed as ANZAC Cup Goes Walkabout", New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
  • "NZRL move to red card Anzac tests", New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 June 2007.
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