2 May 2015

Teams wanted to play washed out Anzac Test

2:21 pm on 2 May 2015

The Australian captain Cameron Smith admits he wanted to play Friday night's trans-Tasman clash but understands why it became the first Kangaroos Test abandoned on home soil.

Security guards survey Brisbane's sodden Suncorp Stadium ground.

Security guards survey Brisbane's sodden Suncorp Stadium ground. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Torrential rain in Brisbane meant a sodden Suncorp Stadium pitch and concerns for player safety, as well as problems with traffic for spectators.

The last time a Kangaroos Test was re-scheduled was back in 1948 in England.

The Anzac Test will now be played on Sunday at 6pm (NZT) at the same venue, with the women's curtain-raiser between Australia's Jillaroos and New Zealand's Kiwi Ferns now also to be played on Sunday afternoon, at 4pm (NZT).

Heavy showers hit south-east Queensland for 24 hours, flooding Brisbane suburbs, cutting highways and disrupting public transport.

On Thursday, the field was flooded by heavy rain with ground staff using high-powered heat lamps over the pitch in an attempt to dry it out but to no avail.

Smith said he initially didn't believe talk at the team hotel that the match could be called off.

"I thought, 'It's a Test match, it is not going to be called off'," he said. "From a players' point of view we probably would have gone out to play. But looking at the general conditions around the city, I think it was the best for everyone.

"We don't want to put anyone in danger trying to watch a footy game. And there's been a lot of talk about player safety over the last couple of seasons and they have heeded that call tonight."

The signs were ominous when the women's Jillaroos-Kiwi Ferns Test was called off yesterday at 5.30pm (local time).

Showers refused to ease and flooded sections of the ground, forcing the NRL's hand after consultation with stadium officials and Channel Nine.

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg admitted it was a "big call".

However, he believed it was the right one - not only for the players but fans, after rain caused flash flooding, disrupted public transport and cut roads.

"Primarily it is about player safety," Greenberg said. "But equally as important to us is the fans - it's gridlock in the city tonight, there's issues with public transport so we made the decision."

Greenberg said they left the call to re-schedule the match until as late as possible after the threat of lightning eased.

Greenberg could only laugh when a New Zealand journalist told him that Kiwis were already complaining that the match should have been held across the ditch.

"I can't control the weather," he smiled.

Only two of the 16 Anzac Tests since 1997 have been played in New Zealand, the scene of the Kiwis' only victory in the fixture's history in 1998.

It is the second sporting event at Suncorp Stadium to be canned in the space of six weeks.

Brisbane Roar's A-League match against Wellington at Suncorp Stadium was called off due to rain on March 22.

The Kiwis and Kangaroos had to move their respective captain's runs to different venues to avoid damaging the stadium surface before the test.

The Kiwis' playmaker Thomas Leuluai, coach Stephen Kearney and captain Simon Mannering during the captains run.

Kiwis playmaker Thomas Leuluai, coach Stephen Kearney and captain Simon Mannering during the captain's run Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meanwhile, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens admitted he was nervous ahead of the test but wouldn't speculate on his future.

A player succession plan has been a hot topic ahead of Australia's sole test of 2015 after the third oldest Kangaroos team was named to avenge their Four Nations final loss to New Zealand.

Veteran centre Justin Hodges' test career is over after being overlooked by selectors who have one eye on the 2017 World Cup.

And 33-year-old Kangaroos forward Corey Parker has admitted the clash may be his last in the green and gold.

However, off-contract Sheens may be the one feeling the heat if New Zealand notches their third straight win over Australia for the first time in more than 60 years.

Sheens survived Australia's shock 2014 Four Nations final loss to the Kiwis by signing a one-year contract in February.

But the jury will be out on Sheens' future if New Zealand breaks a 15-game drought and claims its first mid-year test win over Australia since 1998.

Sheens said he naturally felt nervous before every test but would not elaborate on whether he wanted to keep the reins up to the 2017 World Cup.

"We will worry about this week," he said.

"Representing Australia and playing a quality side there's always pressure... If I wasn't nervous, I would be pretty disappointed."

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