WHY THEY LOST THE FIRST THREE GAMES IN AUSTRALIA. TUG CAPTAIN SPEAKS.
(Special Correspondent of The Post.) SYDNEY. 12th June. To-day, Satuiclay. 12th June, the New Zealind ,team of footballers phiys its fourth match in Sydney. On 16th June the team goes to Newcastle, then to Biishane, returning to Sydney tnv the. final matches of the tour. When t!>c men get back to New Zealand they will have b'-'en away about &i\ v eoks alto gether. I That it is a pioi'cssional team make* little difference to the u'nvel of Swine.i people who want lo sec football. Th;i( it phvys the Noithern Union yanie ir< in its favour with the cioud. The'Sydncv newspapers are, generally speaking, supporters of the Hugby Union game. Nevertheless their notices have been most, favourable. "A brilliant g;ime.' "Intense exi-iteinenl " " J'hc (low! roared itself hoarse." "One of the most exciting games ever seen m S\ d ney." These are phiases i'lont thepio* leports. The gtiics at the hist >\«i> matches admitted from 15.000 to 26.000 people (estimated). A'l to-day's match there is likely lo bo a gi enter number. There is money in this, besides the rehabilitatioii of the New South Wales Rugby League, which has just passed from ' under a cloud.
The New Zealind team is advertised and placatded as "the All Blacks." Today's match is advertised as "New Zealand v. Australia." Something must be forgiven to the publicity agent. The New Zealand team is a scratch team from Wellington and Auckland, with two Taranaki men. As it has no organisation behind it, tha men pay their own expenses, and share half the profits after payment of ground charges. The New South Wales Rugby League takes the oth*er half ; but its players get only "expenses," which, for a Saturday afternoon match, means, in some cases, nothing at all. The rest goes to the consolidation of the league and the promotion of the game. The Northern Union game is scarcely played outside New South Wales and Queensland ; and the side in all the Sydney matches is practically the same side, with its backbone in the team of "Kangaroos" returned from England. Interviewed this morning, the New Zealand captain (James Barber) said :—: — "The pijblic doesn't draw fine distinctions. It takes us as representing New Zealand, and the inter-State rivalry necessarily comes into the game. Our men feel they're playing for their country and for the sport, and the money isn't the most prominent thing about thp tour. Most of us arc just over for the trip. If we get our expenses back we're quite satisfied. If there is any balance over, and there weie any representative Northern Union League in New Zealand, we'd be quite satisfied to turn thb balance over to the league, as is done in Sydney. ' "We've lost the first three matches because we met better i earns. The Kangaroos arj improved out of sight since last year. That's their English tour. On our side, we haven't got the backs we had last year. We miss big solid chaps like Wrigley. Our forwards are just as good. "We came over without having played together — v.itliout any combination. We came over in detachments, as the men could get away. Carlaw only got here by the boat last night. Most "of us haven't played football for a year, as outcasts from the Rugby Union, we don't get the chance of regular play. Outside the Auckland-Wellington matches there's nothing. "Considering this, we haven't done so badlj ; we hope to do better to-day. But accidents have been against us. The hard Sydney ground. There's | no - complaint about the play — fair and open. But when you come down here, you come down haid. George, of Auckland, ricked his knee in the first match ; Lile, of Petone, twisted his ankle. In the second match, M'Donald, of Auckland, splintered his shoulder ; Spencer, of Wellington, broke his jaw. Tho Agricultural Ground may be better to-day after a couple of days' rain ; but — look at all those bandaged j knees. I've had a cold as well. ' "The Northern Union game doesn't amount to much in New Zealand at present; but, the way Rugby, is now, I think it will come, as you see it coming hfcie. I wouldn't recommend a youngster to leave the union in order to play the Northern game ; but I like the Northern game better as a player, and I think the public only want to see it well played to like it better as a spectacle. As, for the division between amateur and professional, there isn't much in it, as the league here inn the game. The union men get an allowance of 3s or 3s 6d for expenses ; the league men get what they can show they are actually out of pocket : but not more than 10s. Between the 'wide' amateur and the 'narrow' professional there isn't much lo choose. "The games against New South Wales were good games, but nothing out of the way. Rosenfeldl certainly plays a dashing game ; the English tour has taught him a lot. I wouldn't put him before some of our own men if they had a more practised combination to help them. All our chaps are shaping well ; but you Know it takes time to make a team. We're having a good trip and good sport. We're very well looked after by the New South Wales people ; and, professionals or not, we conduct ourselves decently, and do our best to play up for the credit of New Zealand."