Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Australia v Canada, a long but sparse tradition

Competition between Australia and Canada got off to a flying start in 1924. The visiting Canadians played 6 Tests against Australia and 1 game against an Australian selection as well as a number of regional games. The Tests averaged an attendance of 8000, neither abysmal nor impressive. More impressive was the 20,000 that turned up to see NSW beat Canada 5-2.

Northern Star (Lismore), 19 May 1924, page 7
The Brisbane Courier summarised the series on 19 July, explaining why it had to be extended to a sixth Test.
By defeating, the strong team that represented Australia in the fifth test match at Adelaide, Canada has drawn level with Australia, and now divides the honours, each side having won two games, while the other one was a draw.
The results are as follows:
  • First test, at Brisbane, Australia won 3-2
  • Second test, at Sydney, Canada won 1-0
  • Third test, at Sydney, Australia won 4-1
  • Fourth test, at Newcastle, drawn, no score.
  • Fifth test, at Adelaide, Canada won 4-1
Action from Victoria v Canada at Fitzroy
Cricket Ground, Wednesday 16 July 1924.

The game was a 1-1 draw.
Remarkably, as the Courier reported, the goals for and against were even at 8 a-piece. This provided a reason for a further Test. Perhaps typically, this game was given to Sydney.
It will be seen that neither side even has an advantage in the matter of the goal average," for each has scored eight goals. This is a remarkable position and probably unprecedented in the history of sport.
The controlling authorities have now determined to stage a sixth test match to determine who will gain the "ashes" for the first series of international contests between Australia and Canada, and Sydney has been chosen as the venue.
The all-important match will, take place on Saturday, July 26th, and the Soccer authorities have made application for the Show Ground for that match.
Ozfootball shows that the deciding Test was won 1-0 by Australia.

Players and officials of the Australia soccer team that played the fifth and final test match against Canada in Adelaide on Saturday 12 July 1924. Back row L-R: H. Spurway (NSW), Fred. Gallen (NSW), T. Bristoe (Vic), G. Cartwright (NSW), G. Storey (NSW), G. Raitt (Vic). Front row L-R: C. Williams (NSW), William (Bill) Maunders (NSW), E. Lukeman (Commonwealth Secretary), James (Judy) Masters (NSW) captain, W. Bellis (South Australian Secretary), Jim Orr (Vic), Fred. Ramsay (NSW).

Players and officials of the Canadian soccer team. The team played South Australia on 9 July 1924 winning 2-0 and Australia on 12 July 1924 winning 4-1. Back row L-R: R. (Dickie) Stobbart (Nanaimo), William (Bill) Linning (Lethbridge Veterans United), Leslie Ford (Regina Thistles), William Sanford (Montreal Blue Bonnets), George Forrest (Toronto Ulster United), Jack Armstrong (Vancouver St. Andrews). Middle row L-R: M. McLean (Calgary), H. Noseworthy (Montreal), Fred Dierden (Toronto Willys-Overland), Jim Wilson (Edmonton Royals), J. Hood (Brandon), Fred Bowman (Saskatoon Radials). Front row L-R: Robert (Bob) Harley, captain, (Winnipeg United Weston), James Adam manager (Victoria B.C.) Lord Mayor of Adelaide C.R.J. Glover, T. Thompson, president South Australian B.F. Association, W. Bellis (Adelaide South Australia).

Of course another (and perhaps more fundamental) reason a further Test was desirable was because the series had lost over £1100 and this was a chance to recoup some of those losses.

It was to be a long, long time before Australia met Canada again. In 1993, with World Cup qualification at stake, each country won 2-1 at home in a two-legged fixture before Mark Schwarzer pulled off his first set of penalty heroics for the country.

Unfortunately we were to be knocked out in the end by a 1-goal defeat over two legs at the hands of Argentina.

Then there was last night/this morning (depending on your location). Australia won 3-0, luckily according to some. Nine games. Five wins; three losses; one draw. Fifteen goals for; eleven against. It's a sparse tradition.

It is interesting that in the 89 years since the two nations met, the total number of games between them has not yet reached ten, even after playing 6 times in 1924. It says something about the changes over time in Australian soccer that at stages we have been very keen to play against teams from the Commonwealth -- we have a very rich history of games against New Zealand and South Africa. Yet today our focus is on qualifying the World Cup and to a lesser extent the Olympics so our opposition is chosen for strategic and not sentimental reasons. Our removal from the Oceania Confederation has sadly minimised the frequency of games against New Zealand, our most passionate contest.

No comments:

Post a Comment