FLASHBACK: December 1990

Brilliant British halfback, Andy Gregory announced his retirement from Test football after playing all three matches against the touring Kangaroos.

It proved a short term break from the international scene, with Gregory touring Australia with the 1992 Lions.

In December 1990 he was 29, and playing some of his best football for the Wigan club.

The calendar year had begun with Gregory’s Wigan teammate, Shaun Edwards as Great Britain halfback for the two Test series against France.

But by the time the Kangaroos arrived in the UK in October, Edwards was out of favour and relegated to the bench, with Gregory starting halfback in all three Tests, and Garry Schofield at five eighth.

Gregory played 30 matches for Wigan in season 1990-91 under the coaching of Australian, John Monie, a highlight the 13-8 win over arch-rivals, St  Helens in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

On the 1992 tour of Australia, Gregory played halfback in the Lions’ 22-6 loss to Australia in Sydney, with injury then forcing him to return to the UK prematurely. Shaun Edwards was halfback for the Second and Third Tests, bringing down the curtain on Gregory’s international career. He finished with 26 Great Britain caps (1981 to 1992).

Also in December 1990, West Yorkshire club, Dewsbury sacked former British Test coach, Maurice Bamford, with his assistant, Jack Addy taking over.

On the 1986 Kangaroo tour I attended a press conference given by Bamford, ahead of the First Test, and he spent most of the time cracking jokes. Members of the Australian media left scratching their heads, wondering what Leeds’  born and bred Bamford would bring to the table, in coaching terms.

He did a good job with the Brits in 1985, when they won the series against New Zealand, but the home side fell well short in ’86. It has to be remembered that this was one of the great Australian sides, with dual international, Michael O’Connor declaring the Kangaroos’ backline the best he had played with, in either code, particularly as Mal Meninga couldn’t get a start.

The backline was: Halves: Peter Sterling, Wally Lewis; centres, Brett Kenny, Gene Miles; wingers, Michael O’Connor, Dale Shearer; fullback, Garry Jack.

Also in December, 1990, Oldham’s former Sydney Wests’ half, John Cogger was sent off for inciting the crowd in an away match against Batley. Batley won 20-16 and the crowd was 2,054. Cogger was subsequently banned for two matches. He finished his career with another English club, Runcorn.

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Andy Gregory

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