ENGLISH LEAGUE TOTIE.
AUCKLAND DISTRICT GAMES.
STANDARD OF LOCAL PLAY.
PROSPECTS FOR COMING TESTS.
The English Rugby League team, having left for the South, it may be of interest to review the games played in the Auckland Province. The .strength of tho League code in the Dominion is centred in the Auckland district, though Canterbury is rapidly becoming .1 keen competitor for the distinction. The remits of.the matches played by the visitors in the Auckland district therefore afford some guide in estimating the standard of the game played by New .Zcalanders.
The Englishmen met Sou Si Auckland at Hamilton in the First- game of the tour, and won by 23 points to 16. An Auckland tearr was next defeated by 24 points to 11. The defeat of Waikato followed fit Ngaruawahia by 30 points to 12, and Auckland Province representatives were beater- by 28 points to 13. The sequence of victories was interrupted on Saturday in tho first test, New Zealand winning by 16 points to 8-
The points scored by the visitors in the province total 118, and they had 68 points scored against t'hem. In the four minor games in which England was victorious tho pouring side scored JlO points, and lead 52 points recorded against. These figures certainly do not indicate that, the English League standard is immeasurably superior to that of the Dominion.
The League game, under favourable conditions, is expected to produce heavy Bcort." It is significant that in the four games against local sides substantial. scores were registered against- the visitors. These games were played in fine weather, umler conditions that favoured an open passing game, in which the visitors admittedly excel. In the circumstances ' it seems reasonable to infer that Auckland Provincial and Metropolitan League football cannot fall far abort of the English county standard. No doubt there aro greater numbers of first-class county players available in England, but judging from the form displayed by the local teams against the international side, the best of Auckland should be able to hold their own. Lessons learned from the visitors' style of play should further improve the locai! standard. Play jjn the First Test. As far as the first test.is concerned the better team on the day won. The visitors Taried their style of plav and used their full strength and ability in every,, department to stave off defeat and failed. Had the ground been firm and the ball easier to handle they might have succeeded by a narrow margin. " One expects them to win the tests in the South if the games are played in fine weather and with a dry ball. On the other hand, if the New Zealanders reproduce the form displayed by them in the first test th-?y may disorganise tho combination of the visitors.
Tho New Zealand backs demonstrated on Saturday that they could handle the ball and combine in attack with as much precision and dash as their opponents. Of the four tries scored by the New Zealand side three were registered by backs, the last one coming from a beautiful concerted movement that completely beat the defence. Of the two tries scored for England one was obtained by a back, and it was an individual effort and near the line.
it is claimed that the English. League touring team possesses the finest set of forwards that ever left England. The form shown by'them in'the Auckland matches did much to justify this claim." Their all-round work and the manner in which they supported the backs was excellent. Jr. the stirring forward battie on Saturday the New Zealand pack stood up to theiv, redoubtable opponents in great style, and left the field with honours at least even.
, Some Prominent Players. ! Mcuatt was the forward who shone out prominently, and his handling of the greasy ball and solid tackling marked him as a great forward. Herring and O'Brien were also prominent. Individual members of the English team expressed the opinion thai, the New Zealand forwards were the best pack they had encountered \pn the tour. Dufty played a great game at fullback, his powerful line-kicking being a greatasset to his side. It was a pity his great display was marred by the incident which many claim should have resulted in England being awarded an obstruction try. When Darwell followed up and smothered Dufty's kick, it is understood his hard impact with the ball dazed Kim, and he was in this state when obstructed by Dufty. The latter states that, he was under the impression that Darwell had possession of the ball at the time. Gilroy and Stewart, the wing-threes quarters, played soundly and both are young players who should improve. Brisbane, Wetherili and Delgrosso played well, their defence being superb. McClymont at half opened play up whenever opportunity arose, and also proved to be a good leader. It was unfortunate that ha and Fitzgerald' had to retire injured. Since the arrival of the Englishmen, much has been heard of the interpretation of certain rules, and no doubt the local Rerefees' Association will give these matters due consideration. At the sanle time there is no question of the Englishmen exploiting many of the rules, and breaches on their part were many. They tiro a great side, capable of producing the best football, but on several occasions showed a decided weakness in accepting a referee's fair ruling with a demeanour of hostility. This is to be regretted. The result of the second League test at "Wellington to-morrow will awaited . with keen interest. The visitors have to win both remaining tests to retain the " ashes " won in Australia.
At the civic reception tendered to the visitors in Auckland the Deputy-Mayor, Mr. G. Baildon, jocularly remarked that a mistake had been made in bringing the ashes to New Zealand; they might be left here. The team manager, Mr. J. K. Dannatt, in similar vein, replied that the New Zealanders would have to climb over the bodies of a very hefty lot of men to secure the ashes, which were destined for England. The club fixtures will be continued oil Saturday, the principal attraction being the game, City v. Athletic. The latter will he without the services of several of their players, who have gone' south, but an • opportunity to play senior will probably be given to one or two prominent juniors.
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ATHLETIC SPORTS., New Zealand Herald, Volume LXI, Issue 18779, 5 August 1924
ATHLETIC SPORTS. New Zealand Herald, Volume LXI, Issue 18779, 5 August 1924
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