Tonight is the last mid-season Anzac Test between Australia and New Zealand, so Flashback Friday is celebrating the fixture’s most iconic try in arguably the most significant of the 19 clashes.
The 2008 Centenary Test – marking 100 years since the neighbouring nations first met – was played at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground in front of 34,571 fans, while news that legendary coach Jack Gibson had passed away only hours before kick-off added more poignancy to the grand occasion.
The Kangaroos, who wore sky blue and maroon hooped jerseys (as Australian teams did for the first two decades after rugby league’s birth in the country), powered to a convincing 28-12 win after a first-half assault that saw them lead 22-0 at halftime.
The undisputed highlight, though, came after just six minutes, when winger Greg Inglis freakishly kept a Johnathan Thurston kick in play and passed it back over his head for Mark Gasnier to score the opening try.
Modern greats Billy Slater and Paul Gallen, along with one-Test wonder Carl Webb, all made their green-and-gold debuts in the match. Gallen celebrated his call-up with a try, while Gasnier finished with a double, and Cameron Smtih and Israel Folau also dotted down.
Roosters duo Iosia Soliola and Sam Perrett added some respectability to the scoreboard for the Kiwis with second-half tries in a match that saw Setaimata Sa and long-serving duo Issac Luke and Jason Nightingale debut.
The resounding win was seemingly the first step towards an unstoppable charge to World Cup glory in ’08 for the Kangaroos, but the Kiwis turned world rugby league on its head six months later at Suncorp Stadium…