FLASHBACK: November 1937

ENGLAND retained the rugby league Ashes Trophy with a 13-3 win over a gallant Australian side at Swinton in Lancashire.

The home side dominated possession and backs, Emlyn Jenkins (Salford) and Sam Brogden (Huddersfield) capitalised, with brilliant attacking play.

Reporting for the Australian press, prominent Sydney journalist, Claude Corbett wrote that the English forwards were ‘more virile’ than in the First Test at Leeds, where Australia went down 5-4.

“I was disappointed with the Australian forwards,” Corbett wrote. “In the open they did not play with the dash and abandon, as at Leeds.”

All 13 points for England were scored by players from Lancashire club, Salford.

Fog prevented many people from getting to the ground, but the crowd of 31,724 pleased the tourists, with gate receipts ensuring the Kangaroos’ tour expenses would be met. Australia’s share of gates in England in the forthcoming weeks would be profit. In France, the Australians were to receive a guarantee, which had not been negotiated at that stage.

In the build-up to the Second Test the Australians had beaten Wigan 25-23 and Oldham 10-6.

Queenslander, Harry Sunderland, one of the managers of the Australian side, revealed he had written to Eamon de Valera, president of the executive of the Irish Free State, proposing a good will match in Dublin – ‘Sons of Ireland’ versus ‘The Rest’.

It was Sunderland’s intention to amalgamate the Catholics among the Kangaroos with Catholics from English clubs to play a composite English side.

The match never took place.

A similar exhibition match was mooted for Dublin in 1967, but an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in England and Wales prevented the Kangaroos making the trip across the Irish Sea.

Eamon de Valera

Eamon de Valera

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