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An Anzac Good Bad and Ugly

In the history of the trans-Tasman sport, there have been many battles, thrilling finishes, and despicable acts. So, what makes this Anzac Day Good, Bad and Ugly in the opinion of this one-eyed Kiwi?

GOOD

New Zealand’s innings thrashing of Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane, led by Sir Richard Hadlee’s 9–52 and 6–71 and Martin Crowe’s sublime 188, was the first of two test victories which led to our first and only test series triumph across the ditch.

The 1981 All Whites’ crucial 2–0 win over Australia in front of 50000 baying Aussies at the SCG, with goals to Steve Wooddin and a booming Grant Turner header from 15m, putting the Kiwis on course to the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

1976 and the men’s hockey gold medal victory over the old enemy at the Montreal Olympics holds special pride of place. A goal to Tony Ineson gave the Kiwis the lead, and from then, it was all about defence and bravery, with goalkeeper Trevor Manning playing the last 10 minutes in agony after having his kneecap shattered in stopping a shot on goal.

Described as “the best game ever”, the All Blacks 39–35 win in front of a world record crowd of 109,874 at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium had everything from the All Blacks leading 24-0 after 10 minutes, a Wallabies fightback and late drama as the late great Jonah Lomu scored at the death to break hometown hearts.

The All Blacks’ incredible run in the Bledisloe Cup stretches back 21 years to 2003, but is that a good thing for rugby? I’ll leave that one up to you!

Any rugby league test victory for the Kiwis over the Kangaroos is celebrated, but four stand out. The 2008 World Cup final 34–20 victory at Brisbane, and three tests where the Kiwis held the Aussies to zero, 30–0 in Hamilton in 2023, 24–0 in Leeds in 2005, and 18–0 at Carlaw Park, Auckland in 1985.

Kiwi sides have had little luck breaking Aussie dominance in national leagues, but the Breakers slam-dunked that trend with four ANBL titles in five years from 2011–15.

For pure sporting drama, the Silvers Ferns 52-51 win over the Diamonds in the 2019 Netball World Cup final is the icing on the cake.

BAD

The 2015 Cricket World Cup final. There was much anticipation of a first-ever trophy for the Black Caps, especially after skipper Brendan McCullum won the toss, but instead of the prudent move of putting the Aussies in, he chose to bat, was out second ball to a reckless heave and left his players to battle in changeable early autumn light at the MCG. The rest is history, and we were thumped.

The NZ Warriors’ recent record in Anzac Day clashes against the Melbourne Storm is nothing short of woeful, with their last win coming in 2014. Maybe that will change against the Gold Coast Titans at Mt Smart this afternoon.

Aussie and Kiwi sporting fans alike got that sinking feeling when One Australia split in two and sank during the semifinals of the 1995 Americas Cup in San Diego, and that is one of only two Aussie misfortunes to sail into this column.

UGLY

No surprise what tops the list and one only has to delve into the archives and February 1, 1981, and an incident described by the late great commentator Richie Benaud as “a disgraceful performance from a captain who got his sums wrong” and “one of the words things I have ever seen done on the cricket field.”

Prime Minister Rob Muldoon described it as an “act of true cowardice, and I consider it appropriate that the Australian team were wearing yellow.”

Of course, it was the infamous incident at the MCG when Australian captain Greg Chapple instructed his brother Trevor to bowl the final ball of the enthralling encounter underarm. The despicable act added fuel to the fire for Kiwi fans, who were earlier incensed after Chapple refused to walk after a brilliant diving catch in the deep by Martin Sneddon.

Kiwi prop Kevin Tamati and Kangaroos counterpart Greg Dowling displayed their boxing skills in a sideline brawl after being sent off in a 1985 league test at Lang Park, Brisbane. Take a look on YouTube; it’s league biffo at its best.

Same city, different ground and Ballymore and All Black prop Richard Loe showed his ugly side with a cheap shot, hammering his forearm into the face of Wallabies winger Paul Carozza, who scored the decisive try in their 19–17 win.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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