The word humiliation is severely overused when it comes to the
business of reporting on one side beating another in a sporting contest.
But it is the only one which really comes close to describing the
thrashing dished out to the Great Britain Rugby League team in Tamworth
A 36-12 defeat at the hands of a Northern Division side, not even rated
highly in their own corner of the State, was all the more debilitating for being
"Our blokes are no good," one gent at the Central Hotel said, with little
deference to the feelings of the divisional side tucking into their breakfast
nearby. "I reckon she'll be a cricket score."
On the latter point he was almost correct.
Great Britain began badly and became worse, never showing any signs of the
attacking skills that had brought them four wins since leaving home.
After going 10-0 up in 12 minutes, the country boys - with only captain
Rocky Laurie carrying any great reputation - gave them no rest.
Big Gunnedah prop Dave McCann, who trialled unsuccessfully for Canterbury
this season, produced a display in the best Dallas Donnelly tradition.
He slipped the ball out of the tackle whenever Great Britain failed to tie
his arms up, which was frequently.
That was how he set up the first try for lively second-rower Chris
Cumming. Great Britain were soon playing catch-up football in conditions that
did not suit them.
Fast, slippery halfback Ewan McGrady was another star, scoring two tries
and often proving elusive around the scrum base.
Malcolm Reilly took 40 minutes to tell his players what he thought of
"They know how badly they played," he said.
If they didn't before his dissertation, they certainly did afterwards.
Reilly recognised immediately that the scoreline from Scully Park would
have caused hoots of derision and peels of scorn down the road in Sydney.
"We just have to accept that," he said. "I'm still confident about the
None of the fringe candidates for Test selection did their chances any
good at all.
Even a Test certainty like Garry Schofield laboured to do what he normally
accomplishes with ease.
At 22-12 a come-back was at least feasible, but another failure to tether
McCann killed that hope immediately after the break.
For Great Britain the transformation never came; indeed the tourists
looked sadder and sloppier as the afternoon wore on.
Yesterday, just as the man in the Central Hotel predicted, it was time for
the cricket scores.
NORTHERN DIVISION 36 (C Cumming, E McGrady 2, B Plater, M Manes tries; M
Spinks 8 goals) bt GREAT BRITAIN 12 (H Gill, G Schofield tries; P Loughlin 2
goals). Crowd: 4,000.