FLASHBACK: October 1978


Rival halfbacks, Tom Raudonikis (Australia) and Steve Nash were sent off by referee, Ron Campbell in the opening match of the 1978 Ashes series at Central Park, Wigan.

Australia won 15-9 with winger, Kerry Boustead and skipper, Bob Fulton scoring tries, while centre, Mick Cronin kicked four goals and Fulton a field goal.

Australian team co-manager, Jim Caldwell from Cairns was angry that Nash and Raudonikis should be dismissed for what he described as “powder puff punching”.

“The crowd was stunned (at the send-offs), given that (British lock) George Nicholls was having a picnic with his fists, knees and elbows,” Caldwell said. “Nicholls is a tough forward, and far from a spent force. But he was allowed to do almost anything against the rules.”

Nash and Raudonikis were having a terrific duel, and who knows what the result might have been if they had remained on the field.

Britain’s points came from a try to Welsh winger, John Bevan and three goals by Scots fullback, George Fairbairn.

Britain were captained by dynamic five eighth, Roger Millward, who had made his Test debut against France in 1966.

In the lead-up to the Test Australia had beaten Blackpool Borough 39-1; Cumbria (at Barrow) 47-4;  Great Britain under-24s (at Craven Park, Hull) 30-8; Bradford Northern 21-11; Leeds 25-19 and Wales (at Swansea) 8-3, but had lost 15-12 to Warrington.

Inter-change back, Alan McMahon was sent off, by referee, Joe Jackson, in the loss to Warrington, after an incident involving home team captain, Billy Benyon.

The match against Bradford was a brawling affair, with Northern coach, Peter Fox firing his men up and the crowd of 15,755 calling for blood.

Photo: Roger Millward (right) with Dennis Hartley (left) and Keith Hepworth after Britain won the Ashes deciding Test in Sydney in 1970.

One response to “FLASHBACK: October 1978

  1. Alan McMahon RIP Taken too soon. Alan, his brother Bede, Tony Richardson and myself raced a little neddie called Zurrich Miss in the early eighties. Great friend, great bloke.
    Now have a share in little neddie called “Hateech” (supposedly Cheetah spelt backwards as in fasted cat) but trainer or whoever couldn’t spell. Side Step x Scat Cat, I suggested they call her “Changa” in respect of the guy with the greatest “side step” of all but, unfortunately, South Australian Aussie Rules Fans have no idea. 2yo the longer she stays in the paddock the better. Give her strength.

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