BRISBANE: After three successive defeats, victory over Combined
Brisbane by 28-14 was doubly welcome for the Great Britain Rugby League tourists
But any celebrations were soured by an injury to star centre Garry
Schofield that assumes the proportions of another disaster on this jinxed tour.
Schofield was helped from the field in the 20th minute clutching his face
after what had seemed an innocuous collision.
A fractured jawbone was the immediate fear and Schofield was taken
straight to hospital where he learnt the bad news for certain.
That is a major blow to Great Britain's hopes of squaring the Test series
when they make their second visit to Lang Park in less than a fortnight's time.
Schofield was not at his best in Saturday's first Test but he is a proven
match-winner at that level and the only real incisive centre Great Britain have
in their party.
If that was the bad news of the night, the good was certainly the form of
Lee Crooks, the creative forward Malcolm Reilly would dearly love to have back
in his side in time for the Second Test.
He came through the 80 minutes strongly and showed several glimpses of his
famed ability to switch the point of the attack with deft handling.
That was a significant feature for Great Britain, but the Brisbane public
treated the whole thing as a matter of no significance at all.
Only an estimated 2,000 of them thought it worth supporting a side bearing
the city's name but lacking all its star players from the ranks of the Broncos.
The team which did turn out put in a plucky performance, equalising
Schofield's early try with one from centre Brett McCarthy and hitting back with
two late efforts from Kelly Egan and Gordon Barwick.
In between, Great Britain had taken firm control with two tries from
Schofield's replacement Martin Offiah - making it 11 for the tour so far - and
one each from Karl Fairbank and Mike Ford.
GREAT BRITAIN 28 (Martin Offiah 2 Karl Fairbank, Mike Ford, Garry
Schofield tries; David Stephenson 4 goals) bt BRISBANE 14 (Brett McCarthy, Kelly
Egan, Gordon Barwick tries; Peter Coyne goal). Crowd: About 2,000.