Rugby League: Destroyer Meninga

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE power of the Australian captain, Mal Meninga, destroyed New Zealand in the last 15 minutes of their Test in Brisbane, writes Dave Hadfield.

A ferociously competitive third match of the series was poised at 6-4 when Australia twice sprang the same move, with Laurie Daley slipping an inside ball to his Canberra team-mate and Meninga proving too strong for the defence.

Meninga put Brad Fittler in for one try and scored himself six minutes from time to seal the series 2-0 after the first Test had been drawn.

Australia led through Michael Hancock's try from Allan Langer's measured kick, but two penalties from Gavin Hill made it desperately close until Meninga demonstrated that he is still the most devastating runner in the game.

AUSTRALIA: Shearer; Hancock, Meninga, Fittler (Kevin Walters, 75), Carne (Ettingshausen, 78); Daley, Langer; Lazarus (Gillespie, 77), S Walters, Harragon, Sironen, Lindner (Roberts, 62), Clyde.

NEW ZEALAND: Edwards (Ropati, 63); Hoppe, McCracken, Watson, Donnelly (Halligan, 75); Kemp, Freeman; Hill, Mann, Todd, Mercer (Lomax, 49), Tuuta, Nikau (Kearney, 50).

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

Great Britain's amateur Young Lions begin their eight-match tour of Australia today against Northern Territory at Darwin. Phil Hepworth, bound for the professional ranks with Bradford Northern when he returns, captains the side, with Whitehaven's Craig Murdock - set to join Wigan next season - at scrum-half.

The Young Lions tour includes two Tests against the Australian Schoolboys, who have only lost two games in over 50 outings.

Warrington have failed in an audacious attempt to sign Jonathan Davies from neighbours Widnes. Davies has opted to stay, despite a reportedly attractive offer. 'Warrington did everything above board in their approach and we have kept Jonathan fully informed, but it's no deal,' Phil Larder, the Widnes coach, said yesterday.

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