FLASHBACK: October 1937

The Kangaroos suffered the second defeat of their tour of Britain and France, when Yorkshire side, Halifax produced brilliant attacking football in front of an ecstatic home crowd of 14,500.

Former Maori rugby union representative, Charlie Smith (originally from Gisborne in New Zealand) caused havoc, scoring the first try to give Halifax a 7-2 lead.

The Australians put the loss behind them, and four days later beat the Yorkshire County side 8-4 at Bradford, in front of a disappointing crowd of 7,570.

Yorkshire had led 4-0 at halftime, thanks to two penalty goals. But Australia sealed victory with tries to Eric Lewis and Harry Robison.

The Australians first loss on tour had been to the other major league county, Lancashire, a 5-7 result at Warrington in September.

The day before the Bradford match, most of the Australians had visited the local Cinema, while a limited number had tea with the Lord Mayor. After watching a movie, the Australians then saw and heard Bob Anderton’s movie lecture on the previous British tour of Australia in 1936. (Anderton managed the 1936 side).

The Australians had been bolstered by the arrival of Herb Narvo, as the replacement for injured forward, Sid Pearce from Sydney Easts. Narvo, from the Sydney Newtown club, sailed to Marseilles in France on the Belfast built, Narkunda. (In 1942 the Narkunda, which was by then a troop carrier, was sunk by the Germans off the coast of Algeria, with the loss of 30 lives).

The Australians had a hectic round of social engagements. In Leeds they attended a play at the Empire Theatre and were introduced to the audience. The players sang ‘Advance Australia Fair’, starting timidly, and finishing with robust voices.

At a club match between Huddersfield and Hull, the Kangaroos left the stands at halftime to perform the team war cry in front of appreciative fans.

Team manager, Harry Sunderland was issued an invitation by the West Riding County Association to attend its annual dinner. The association governed soccer in that part of Yorkshire and boasted 500 teams.

The 'Narkunda'

The ‘Narkunda’

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