In this series, we take a look at some great sporting myths that have grown throughout the years.
Myth #1 – The Rugby League Anzac Test is always a flogging
Ok, granted. The overall result shows 12 wins to Australia, and just the one win to the Kiwis – and that solitary, lonely, desperate win was 15 years ago. On the surface, this is a one-sided contest, and to be fair to the doom merchants, in the early days of the competition anyway, floggings of anywhere between 30-50 points were commonplace.
So that is how the above myth began. But let’s just pause for breath here, and take a look at what has happened in the last 3 years or so.
Sure, in that time the Australians have remained triumphant. Nothing new there. But the last three wins have been by 8 points, 10 points and 4 points. An average win of just over 7 points in no way constitutes a flogging – particularly when two of those games were played on away soil.
The consistency of the Kiwis’ performance across the last three years has blown this fallacy out of the water (for the time being anyway), yet you wouldn’t know it if you take an interest in the media. From all accounts Friday night’s result is a foregone conclusion – the Kiwis will be flogged again. By what margin this time – 6 points?
One of the justifications for this Nostradamus style offering is that the Kiwis have lost the likes of Benji Marshall, Krisnan Inu, Jeremy Smith and SBW (yeah, right) to injury or suspension. But whilst that has been the case for every Anzac Test since its inception, the scoreline continue to get closer.
By saying that it is a foregone conclusion almost lets the Kiwis off the hook before the game has even kicked off. Should they let a 20 point lead slip and lose to a last minute field goal, that’s fine. After all, they should have been flogged.
There are few people expecting the Kiwis to win, and going on previous results, that is more than reasonable. Yet don’t be surprised if they give the Australians a solid run for their money for a generous part of the game.
A foregone conclusion? Maybe, maybe not. But a flogging? There hasn’t been one of those for four years.