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The Sydney Morning Herald


Date: 07/06/1988
Words: 631
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 76
Reports this morning that the British Rugby League tour is dead are not premature.

All visible signs of life were extinguished after last night's 30-0 Manly murder at Brookvale Oval.

Admittedly Great Britain will field a much different team for the first Test against Australia at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, but it is hard to see 30 points difference between the two visiting combinations.

Last night's result ensures the Test on Saturday will battle to draw a respectable crowd.

Great Britain coach Malcolm Reilly was a great player and has been a successful coach, but he will need greater help than Lazarus to revive the tour.

Reilly put on the losing coach's brave face after the match and looked for some positive signs.

"The main game is on Saturday," Reilly said.

"I feel we can match them (Australia) in most departments. I was very pleased with Andy Platt's performance.

"I was disappointed with the result because I thought it would be a close match."

Reilly said he did not want to give anything away before Saturday, but whatever he is about to reveal has been well hidden.

The tourists looked competitive in beating Newcastle 28-12 last Wednesday, and players like Kevin Ward, Andy Gregory, Ellery Hanley and Garry Schofield are class customers.

It will take a monumental effort for them to breathe life back into the tourist's challenge.

Everyone hopes they do.

Great Britain started last night's game with the necessary aggression and commitment.

It soon became apparent what they lacked was technique and ability.

They were unable to ground the Manly forwards and when in possession were ponderous and indecisive.

The Lions had only the most rudimentary pattern.

On the few times the visitors made it inside the Manly quarter it was all pot luck.

The exception was Platt, a strong, purposeful runner and thoughtful player

"Platt's a good player; a real good player," was Manly captain Noel Cleal's tribute.

Cleal is a world-beater and was out to prove the representative selectors were wrong in dumping him.

Mark Pocock and Mark Brokenshire are valuable members of the Manly pack but aren't world-beaters.

They looked it last night, as did prop Ian Gately in an impressive return from injury.

The forwards' dominance allowed lock Des Hasler, teenage half Geoff Toovey(the man of the match) and five-eighth Cliff Lyons plenty of room in which to work.

They made the most of it and at times strung passes together almost at will.

Manly coach Bob Fulton thought his players were terrific but couldn't find too many words of hope for the visitors.

"There are some good individual players and fitness wasn't a problem for them," Fulton said.

"The halfback's (Andy Gregory) a real good player and he'll do a bit of organising for them.

"It's going to be difficult to say the least.

"I wouldn't like to be in Malcolm's (Reilly's) shoes with four days to go.

MANLY 30 (C Lyons G Toovey M Pocock C Haggett I Gately tries; T Dwyer 5 goals) bt GREAT BRITAIN 0. Crowd: 11,131. Referee: F Desplas (France).

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