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A pre-game report......

Saturday night’s first Test (Sunday Australia time) is the 117th between Australian and Great Britain teams.

Great Britain played as England until 1946 and on the 1911-12 tour the Kangaroos toured as Australasia, as they included four Kiwis in the tour party.

Australia has won 58 of the encounters and Great Britain 54, with the teams drawing on four occasions.

Australia has not lost a series to Great Britain since 1970, and hasn’t lost a series in the UK since 1959.

Surprisingly Australia has lost the first Test in the UK with an official Kangaroos team every year since 1986.

When Darren Lockyer captains Australia against Great Britain for the first time he will become the 43rd man to skipper the Kangaroos against ‘the old enemy’.

Great Britain last beat Australia in Wigan in 1959, the same year they last won the Ashes in the UK.

There have been six Tests in Wigan since 1956 - Great Britain has won two and Australia the last four.
Only one of those Tests has been played on the current Wigan ground, the JJB Stadium.

Trent Waterhouse and Michael Crocker make their debut for Australia in this game, with Minnichiello, Wing, Bailey, Hegarty, Fitzgibbon and Ricketson facing Great Britain for the first time.

The last encounter between these two teams in Sydney in 2002 saw Australia’s heaviest ever defeat of Great Britain, with a scoreline of 64-10.

......and the result - Australia won!!!

Kangaroos escape with last-gasp win

Australia won the opening rugby league Test against Great Britain 22-18 in Wigan
, but only after the Ashes series got off to the most explosive start in its history when Lions enforcer Adrian Morley was sent off 12 seconds into the match.

Kick-off at JJB Stadium was delayed for 15 minutes as supporters streamed into the ground but many would have missed the tackle - the first of the match - which led to Morley's dismissal.
Australian prop Robbie Kearns took Great Britain captain Andy Farrell's kick-off and was met by a coat hanger from a charging Morley.
Referee Steve Ganson, whose send-off record received plenty of coverage in the media before the match, was left with no choice but to dismiss the Sydney Roosters second rower and leave Great Britain to play the remaining 79 minutes of the match with only 12 men.

Even with its one-man advantage, Australia struggled to put away the game Lions.

It took a Darren Lockyer try with four minutes remaining to separate the sides after Great Britain had taken the lead in the 76th minute through a Brian Carney try - his second of the match.

The Kangaroos scored first points in the 10th minute and it was centre Phil Bailey who opened his Ashes account, taking a pass from Lockyer to dive over in the corner.

But the courageous home side refused to wilt and levelled the scores in the 19th minute when Irish winger Carney took a cut-out pass from Sean Long to score in the corner.

Australian second rower Willie Mason had a try disallowed by the video referee five minutes later after a Lockyer knock-on before Great Britain should have gone ahead only for Keith Senior's pass going behind Richard Horne.

Instead, Australia went ahead with nine minutes remaining in the half through some smart work from Lockyer.
His short kick was perfectly placed for debutant Trent Waterhouse, who scored to give the Kangaroos an 8-4 lead.

The second half got off to a dramatic start as well, the Kangaroos' other debutant Michael Crocker sin-binned by Ganson after exchanging punches with Carney in the 56th minute.

And Senior, who was having a wow of a game, did the damage.
The home side was given a scrum feed only metres from Australia's line after a Lockyer mistake and Senior brushed off Bailey to score, Long converting to make the score 10-8.

Long extended the lead with a penalty goal with 20 minutes remaining to set up a dramatic finale.

But Craig Gower spared Australia's blushes when he took a bullet-like pass from Brett Kimmorley to score and Craig Fitzgibbon converted to put Australia back in front.

But Gower knocked on from the kick-off and Carney scored in the corner to level the scores.
Paul Deacon had only been on the field 10 minutes but converted from the sideline to the raptures 24,614 fans.

But Lockyer scored and Fitzgibbon added a penalty goal in the last minute.

A panel made up of one representative from the Australian Rugby League and Rugby Football League respectively and one independent will decide whether Morley has a case to answer.

P Bailey T Waterhouse C Gower D Lockyer - all 1 try each
C Fitzgibbon - 3 goals

B Carney 2 tries - K Senior 1 try
S Long 2 goals - P Deacon 1 goal

at JJB Stadium in Wigan, England

Referee - S Ganson

Crowd - 24,614