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Sun-Herald

Noble: We could sniff an upset win all week

Author: By WILL SWANTON
Date: 05/11/2006
Words: 671
Source: SHD
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 122
GREAT BRITAIN 23

AUSTRALIA 12

EH? Australia lost to Great Britain in this country for the first time since 1992. And the first time in Sydney since 1988.

In a match which started in drizzling rain, much to the approval of Blackpool-loving five-eighth Leon Pryce, and was equally remarkable for Great Britain's replacement forward Adrian Morley surviving an entire game without being placed on report for almost knocking someone's head clean off in a high tackle, the visitors conjured up a massive boilover to throw the series wide open.

"What tonight shows is that there's no dominant force in this series," Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart said.

"You asked me during the week what type of game I expected. I said we were expecting a confrontational Test match-style game of football.

"I doubt if many of you believed me. I know the Pommies too well. They have a lot of pride in their jumper and nation.

"They're proud people and that's the way they played tonight. There are no favourites in this competition."

Pryce was still stunned by the widespread coverage his anti-Bondi comments attracted last week, saying: "Back home little things like that don't go anywhere. We were just having a giggle.

"Thank God the Melbourne Cup is on next week - I couldn't go through that again, it would do my head in.

"A bit of jest turned into something serious. There's a lot more serious things going on in the world than me talking about going home. It was just a bit of fun."

Australia's shock loss wasn't for the lack of trying from one Australian forward: Willie Mason. He started with what can conservatively be described as enthusiasm and ended up explaining his actions to the judiciary.

In the fourth minute he felled Stuart Fielden with a punch to the jaw. Fielden hit the deck like he'd been shot.

The comparatively small figure of halfback Sean Long decided to confront Mason, who looked down at his small foe as if to say, 'Don't make me hurt you'. Fielden's front-row partner Jamie Peacock joined the fray but Australian lock Luke O'Donnell shoved him aside. There was a feeling in the battle from the outset.

"There was an element of determination right through the week . . . you could sniff something like that result," Great Britain coach Brian Noble said.

Mason was also in trouble for a forearm/elbow on Long in the 10th minute and should have scored in the second half but spilled the ball with a try beckoning.

It was 6-6 at half-time. Straight after the break, Nathan Hindmarsh conceded a penalty.

He was guilty of a high tackle on Long and a terrible moustache. Australia paid a heavy price when Peacock scored immediately.

Britain led 12-6 before Australian captain Darren Lockyer scored for 12-12 with 28 minutes left.

The visitors hit the lead again when Lee Gilmour sliced through to score the kind of soft try rarely allowed by an Australian team.

Ten minutes left and Long missed a sitter of a penalty which should have made it 20-12. Then he missed a field goal attempt and Mason offered his commiserations. Seven minutes to go, and it was still 18-12.

Five minutes remaining, still time for Australia. Morley crunched Lockyer. Then Long booted a loose ball into the clear and Raynor scored in the corner. Four minutes, three, two, one, a field goal, and it was all over. Eh?

AUSTRALIA 12 v GREAT BRITAIN 23

Aussie Stadium

Crowd: 24,953 Referee: Ashley Klein

SCORERS

D Lockyer, G Inglis tries; L Gilmour, J Peacock, G Raynor,

D Lockyer 2 goals P Wellens tries; S Long 3 goals;

S Long field goal.

TOP TACKLERS

Nathan Hindmarsh (37) Gareth Ellis (31)

TOP HIT-UPS

Petero Civoniceva (15) Adrian Morley (18)

POSSESSION

44% 56%

COMPLETIONS

21/35 (60.0%) 33/41 (80.5%)

MISSED TACKLES

30 19

LINE BREAKS

2 5

ERRORS

6 13

OFFLOADS

15 8

12 23

RESULTS SO FAR

Game 1: Australia 30 beat New Zealand 18, Mt Smart Stadium.

Game 2: Australia 20 beat New Zealand 15, Telstra Dome.

Game 3: New Zealand 18 beat Great Britain 14, Jade Stadium.

Game 4: Great Britain 23 beat Australia 12, Aussie Stadium.

REMAINING GAMES

November 11: NZ v Great Britain (Westpac Stadium, 6pm Sydney time)

November 18: Australia v Great Britain (Suncorp Stadium, 9pm Sydney time)

 
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