The Anzac Test, Canberra May 2017

The Cross of Valour recipients were honoured to be invited to participate in a number of events centred around the Anzac Test Match in Canberra in May this year. Those events included the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, The Official reception for the two teams, also at the Australian War Memorial, attending the Captain's run of the New Zealand Kiwi team and presenting the Anzac coin to the players, attending the test match and being presented to the Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) and Lady Cosgrove, Victoria Cross Recipients Mark Donaldson VC, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG and Dan Keighran VC, Doug and Kay Baird, the parents of Cpl Cameron Baird VC,MG and the crowd of nearly 20,000 fans. Post match, the Cross of Valour recipients joined the Australian Kangaroos in the change room where the recipients presented the players and officials with the Australian Bravery Coin. This exceptional experience would not have been made possible without the months of work and support from our Vice Patron Mr Richard Rolfe OAM and the CEO of the NRL, Mr Todd Greenberg.

The annual ANZAC Test is a representative Rugby League football matched played between the Australian Kangaroos and New Zealand Kiwis just after ANZAC Day (April 25) in early May. Inaugurated in 1997, the two teams play for the Bill Kelly Memorial Trophy, named in honour of Trans-Tasman football legend William Kelly who played and coached for both New Zealand and Australia during the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. The ANZAC Test, also known as the Trans-Tasman Test, was first introduced by the Super League in 1997 and the first match saw Australia defeat New Zealand 34 – 22 in Sydney in front of 23,829 spectators.

Australia are the dominant ANZAC Test winners throughout history boasting 16 titles from 18 tests played and as such usually dominate ANZAC Test betting. The ANZAC Test has played out over various venues in Australia including five at Lang Park, now Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane and most recently GIO Stadium in Canberra for the 2017 ANZAC Test. 

The ACT hosted the 2017 ANZAC Test at GIO Stadium on Friday May 5 during the Rep Round of the NRL with the Mal Meninga-coached Kangaroos scoring a dominant 30 – 12 win over the New Zealand Kiwis in the annual clash. The ANZAC Test also featured a double-header with the women’s test match played between the Jillaroos and the Kiwi Ferns, Australia also successful with a 16 – 4 victory. It was the first time the ANZAC NRL Test match was played in Canberra since 26,000 footy fans turned out for the 2013 edition won by the Kangaroos 32 – 12.

Sadly, 2017 was the final ANZAC Test with all future games involving the Kangaroos played post the NRL season from 2018 onwards.