Published in Thirteen
The Second Ashes Test, 1992
Australia v Great Britain
Princes Park, Melbourne
GB Trounce the Aussies!
In a match that has been replayed and replayed on Sky – and justifiably so – Great Britain trounced Australia 33-10 in Melbourne to level up the 1992 Ashes series at one game apiece.
Having been beaten 22-6 in the opening game at the Sydney Football Stadium, few fancied Britain’s chances. With Andy Gregory and Ellery Hanley injured, Britain fielded an all Wigan pack and Shaun Edwards came in at half back for his first start against the Australians in test football.
The poor weather suited the British as, incredibly, they raced into a 22-0 lead, completely battering their more illustrious opponents in all departments. Phil Clarke opened the scoring and when Paul Newlove touched down a Shaun Edwards grubber kick, the visitors led 16-0.
There was more to come as Britain scored the type of try that indicated that it was to be their night. Another kick into the in-goal area, this time by Garry Schofield, wasn’t dealt with in the slippery conditions by the Australian full back Andrew Ettingshausen, who slipped in comical fashion and allowed the opportunistic Schofield to touch down his own kick. The 8,000 British supporters behind the posts were in dreamland.
However, they were soon worried after half time, as the expected Australian comeback materialised. Bob Lindner and Chris Johns scored tries to reduce the gap by almost half and, with plenty of time remaining, the Australians appeared to have momentum on their side to go on and clinch the Ashes there and then.
What followed stifled their momentum, as the British forwards fronted up to their opponents and ensured a scoreless period of long enough to mean the hosts were rapidly running out of time and had to chase the game. Subsequently, Great Britain found improved field position and Graham Steadman scooted down the left flank, released by Martin Offiah, rounded Ettingshausen to score a breathtaking try which sealed the game. Paul Eastwood’s magnificent touchline goal rubbed salt into the Australians’ wounds.
As did the obligatory Offiah try a few minutes later. Combining with his captain Schofield, Offiah finished off virtually the last move of the game to secure a famous 33-10 win and record only Britain’s second win in Australia since the 1974 Ashes series.
The details of this game are still well known but not so the events of the following week as an ill-disciplined British side struggled in the heat and went on to lose the Ashes decider in Brisbane. Offiah was the lone British tryscorer as the Australians wrapped up the series 16-10.
But history has proven that the deciding game took away no gloss whatsoever from that outstanding night in Melbourne in the minds of the British fans and players. It, rightfully, remains the career highlight of many of the British 17 on duty and was unquestionably Great Britain’s best performance since they last held the Ashes.
Australia 10 (Lindner, C Johns tries. Meninga goal)
Great Britain 33 (Clarke, Newlove, Schofield, Steadman, Offiah tries. Eastwood 6 goals. Schofield drop goal)
Australia: Ettingshausen, Wishart, Daley, Meninga, Hancock, Jackson, Langer, Gillespie, S Walters, Harragon, Sironen, Lindner, Clyde. Subs: Mackay, Lazarus, C Johns & Kevin Walters.
Great Britain: Steadman, Eastwood, Newlove, Powell, Offiah, Schofield, Edwards, Skerrett, Dermott, Platt, Betts, McGinty, Clarke. Subs: Connolly, Lydon, P Hulme & Harrison.